Judge Rules for University of California Students in Fee Challenge
The University of California owes millions of dollars to thousands of students who sued over fee increases, claiming they amounted to a breach of contract, a judge ruled.
University officials, who maintain there was no contract, say they will appeal the ruling.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by professional school students alleging that the university failed to keep a promise to keep fees stable during their three-year course of study. Fees increased a number of times.
In a ruling made public on March 6, San Francisco Superior Court Judge James L. Warren found that the university broke its promise to students who first enrolled in professional schools in 2002 or earlier. The ruling said contracts were breached with other students when fees were raised in 2003 after they had been billed.
Warren ruled the school should pay nearly $34 million, with most of that going to more than 9,000 professional school students. Also sharing in the award are about 47,000 students whose educational fees were raised after they had enrolled and were billed in 2003.
University officials say it was always made clear to students that fees could change under certain circumstances. They say the state’s budget crisis in the last few years and subsequent cut in funding forced them to ask students to pay more.
Mo Kashmiri, a UC-Berkeley law school graduate and one of the original plaintiffs, called the ruling a victory for students but said he was disappointed the university will appeal. “They’re going to waste a lot of money in legal fees,” he said.
— Associated Press
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