UF Student wants reimbursement for going virtual, new bill would protect universities from lawsuits

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB/CAP NEWS) - Members of the state Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a bill that would protect universities from certain lawsuits in Florida. One of those members is North Central Florida Senator Jennifer Bradley. The sponsor of Senate Bill 7070, Senator Joe Gruters of Sarasota, says the purpose is to protect tuition.

“Unfortunately, there’s people that wanted the virtual instruction, and they don’t want to pay. So, this will hopefully clear things up,” explained Sen. Gruters.

However, one University of Florida student who was attending in-person classes when the pandemic first hit was forced to go virtual and believes he is entitled to a reimbursement.

“Online classes are cheaper, and I think students should get the costs. A lot of people had financial hardships because of that, and I think a couple of hundred bucks put in their pockets is only fair to the students affected,” explained UF student Vasilios Kosmakos.

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He said even though he believes there should be some form of reimbursement, he thinks the university did the right thing by canceling in-person classes.

“They needed to reduce the spread as much as possible. I think the university really did the best thing in the grand scheme of things. In general, I think they could have handled the financial part of this a little bit better,” said Kosmakos.

He explained he has not received any notice of a refund for the difference between in-person and online classes. Some are concerned the language in the bill is too broad and would prevent students from recovering money spent on meal plans and housing.

“These are products that were never delivered that were paid for,” according to Curry Pajcic, who is a Trial Attorney.

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Another element of this bill added by Democrats would allow parents of kindergarten through 5th-grade students to hold their child back if they feel their education was affected by the pandemic. The bill’s sponsor thinks changes will likely be made before final passage to clarify some of the concerns raised during the committee.

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