Class-action lawsuit seeks refund of Florida college campus fees

Suit demands state public colleges return financial aid, technology, activities, athletics, health, transportation fees amid COVID-19 shutdown

VIDEO: A class-action lawsuit aims to compel 12 of Florida’s public universities to refund students certain fees after the coronavirus pandemic forced campuses to close.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A class-action lawsuit, filed Monday, aims to compel 12 of Florida’s public universities to refund students certain fees after the coronavirus pandemic forced campuses to close.

The suit, filed in Leon County, targets the Florida Board of Governors Foundation and lists University of Florida graduate student Anthony Rojas as the plaintiff.

While the class-action suit stops short of demanding the return of tuition, room and board costs such as other such lawsuits across the country have done, it seeks to refund fees associated with financial aid, technology, activities, services, athletics, health and transportation.

“The costs are just unbelievable," said Adam Moskowitz, Rojas’ attorney. "They are actually facilities, which have been closed since March, which students have paid almost $2,000 for, that they physically can’t use -- buses, gyms, more importantly, health facilities.”

The universities listed in the lawsuit are Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida Polytech University, Florida State University, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of West Florida.

Each university has a different fee structure. At the University of North Florida, each student who is a Florida resident would be entitled to about $66 per credit hour if the lawsuit was successful.

Fee per credit hourCost (in-state resident)
Capital Improvement Fee$6.76
Financial Aid Fee$5.25
Athletic Fee$19.53
Activity & Service Fee$10.18
Health Fee$2.60
Student Union Fee$4.24
Wellness Center Fee$2.94
Transportation Access Fee$4.08
Technology Fee$5.25
Student Life & Services Fee$5.25
TOTAL (Non-tuition) FEES$66.08

At UNF, students who are enrolled in at least 12 credit hours are considered “full-time” and no student may enroll in more than 20 credit hours in a single semester.

Below is an approximate breakdown of the refund amounts to which in-state UNF students would be entitled if the class-action lawsuit were successful.

12 Credit hours = $792.96

13 Credit hours = $859.04

14 Credit hours = $925.12

15 Credit hours = $991.20

16 Credit hours = $1,057.28

17 Credit hours = $1,123.36

18 Credit hours = $1,189.44

19 Credit hours = $1,255.52

20 Credit hours = $1,321.60

The Board of Governors told News4Jax Monday it will not comment on pending litigation.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.