Recent grad sues NU for charging full tuition despite remote spring courses


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec

The Northwestern Arch. A recent graduate sued NU in a class action suit alleging the University breached its contract when it charged full tuition for remote courses taught during the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Pollard, Summer Managing Editor

Northwestern University has been sued in federal court over its decision to charge full tuition in Spring Quarter while shifting entirely to remote classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

The plaintiff, Nathaniel Polley, is a recent graduate who seeks “for himself and the putative class members, a return of a prorated portion of the tuition, fees and other related costs, proportionate to the diminished value of online classes, campus services and access to campus facilities,” according to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

When Northwestern announced the cancellation of all classes from March 31 until April 3, and later shifted all in-person courses online, the lawsuit alleges the school could no longer offer the services its students and parents paid for.

Polley seeks to represent all people who paid tuition or fees to attend the University “when classes and/or coursework were limited in whole or in part to online attendance as a result of or in connection with COVID-19,” according to a news release. Polley was not immediately available for comment.

One of the student’s attorneys, Yvette Golan, said that without the on-campus component, Northwestern’s online-only classes are not as valuable as its in-person classes, and therefore not worth the tuition the school charged.

“As Northwestern’s own marketing materials make clear, its students pay the school’s high tuition and fees to be on campus, to meet face-to-face with classmates and professors, and to take advantage of the facilities that prestigious institutions like Northwestern offer,” Golan said in the news release.

The University does not comment on pending litigation, a University spokesperson said in an email to The Daily.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @pamesjollard