June 29, 2020 13:45
Some 3,900 graduate and undergraduate students from 124 universities are filing a class-action lawsuit to get their tuition fees refunded because they have not been taught except online.
That is 63 percent of students at four-year universities. They complain of poor-quality online classes during the first semester this year and no use of university facilities.
A spokesman for a student network said Sunday the students agreed between June 18 and 27 to participate in the class action lawsuit. "We're going to file it with the Seoul Central District Court against each university and the Education Ministry this Wednesday."
Students at Kaywon University of Art and Design make up the biggest group with 527 plaintiffs, followed by Hongik University (373), Sookmyung Women's University (318), Ewha Womans University (307), Hansung University (282), and Seoul National University (200).
They want at least a third of their money for the first semester back.
According to the Education Ministry, this year's average tuition fees at private universities are W7.48 million and those of public universities W4.18 million (US$1=W1,200).
The ministry is investigating the financial condition of the universities to see if they can afford to give some of the money back. Universities have muttered about "fixed costs" and additional costs for preparing online classes, but students say the savings on utilities alone must be substantial.
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