Southern Methodist University

Student Files Lawsuit Against SMU for Refund After School Moved Online

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A former Southern Methodist University graduate student filed a class-action lawsuit against the university Wednesday, claiming the school failed to offer a refund for tuition and fees after classes transitioned online in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keller resident Luke Hogan, who graduated from SMU after the 2020 spring semester, filed the lawsuit in Dallas County District Court.

In the lawsuit, Hogan said he paid for the university to provide in-person educational services, opportunities and experiences.

When SMU moved online and canceled all in-person classes on March 12, the university failed to provide those in-person services, according to the lawsuit, and did not offer any refund of tuition or fees the students paid.

The average tuition for U.S. residents attending SMU for the 2020 spring semester was $37,955.

Because the university did not uphold its end of the contract to provide in-person education, Hogan is seeking a pro-rated refund of tuition and other fees for himself and other students.

The lawsuit said approximately 59% of the spring semester was moved online.

Hogan, a Keller High School graduate, was a back-up kicker for the football team this fall.

Several SMU MBA students reached out to NBC 5 Responds in June after the school did not waive fees for in-person amenities for graduate business students.

Students in the in-person MBA program paid additional fees that students in the online MBA program did not pay for, despite the fact that the in-person program moved online in March.

In the NBC 5 Responds article, SMU said it offered credit adjustments for housing, dining and parking, but not for tuition or general fees for Professional MBAs or any student group.

"Along with information [provided above], the University is making adjustments to deal with a large budget gap created by COVID-19," the school said in response to a question asking why those fees weren't waived.

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