Two recent graduates file lawsuit over tuition reimbursement

Water reflection in Bosco Plaza at Kansas State. The only people to be found on campus during these uncertain times are construction crews, grounds keepers and maintenance workers. (File Photo by Dalton Wainscott | Collegian Media Group)

Two recent Kansas State alumni have filed a lawsuit against Kansas State and the Kansas Board of Regents regarding tuition reimbursement.

Joseph Hollander and Craft LLC is joined by attorneys from Sultzer Law Group P.C. and Leed Brown Law P.C. in representing the plaintiffs. Noah Plank and John Garfolo, who graduated in the spring, were named as plaintiffs in the case.

The two students allege they did not receive the services they paid for in their tuition and fees as a result of the way K-State responded to COVID-19. The university closed all campuses on March 12 following spring break temporarily. Later on, K-State opted to remain entirely online for the remainder of the semester.

The class action lawsuit says the students are suing for breach of contract, conversion and common law unjust enrichment. It also alleges that K-State did not provide in-person amenities for around 58 percent of the spring semester, but the students paid for them.

Jeff Brown, an attorney at Leeds Brown Law P.C., said he was optimistic about the lawsuit, and said he equates the situation to booking a flight.

“If you book a flight and for whatever reason the pilot or the plane can’t leave, you get a refund and get your money back — or at the minimum you get another flight,” Brown said. “In this situation, the universities and colleges do a phenomenal job promoting and touting the college experience — they have brochures, websites, commercials, recruiters. They invite students to come and visit prior to attending the college so they can get a feel for campus life. And due to no fault of their own — I’m talking about the students, or the college — that contract or that understanding was impossible to perform due to the pandemic. And as a result of that, we believe that students should be entitled to some type of refund for the goods and services that they did not receive.”

The university declined to comment on any ongoing litigation.

Hi there! I'm Julie Freijat. I'm the managing editor of the Collegian. In the past, I've served as an editor on the news and culture desks and worked closely with the multimedia staff. I love science and technology, hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.