The University of New Haven reached a $2.3 million settlement in a class action breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by students alleging that campus shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic entitled them to a tuition refund for the remote semester.
Each student enrolled at the university during the spring 2020 semester will receive an equal percentage of $1 million, according to the settlement. Any students who fall into that category and are enrolled in courses scheduled to begin this fall or later will receive a “one-time, non-cash” $200 tuition credit as well, The Register Citizen reported.
“The conclusion of this matter enables us to ensure our focus is solely on investing in resources that support the success of our students in and out of the classroom,” university officials said in a statement following the announcement.
The deal is the second settlement reached in Connecticut by a private college in a campus shutdown case; the first was at Quinnipiac University, also located in New Haven, which settled in December for $2.5 million after a district judge refused the university’s request to dismiss the case.
It’s also the latest in a string of settlements reached by colleges nationwide embroiled in similar lawsuits, coming a week after the University of Colorado settled one for $5 million.
The majority of the cases brought by students alleging breach of contract have been dismissed, including the suit brought against UNH’s neighbor, Yale University. Others have advanced to trial or been revived after appeals. For institutions involved in those, the prospect of a long and costly legal battle combined with remaining surplus COVID relief money may make settling an appealing alternative.