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George Washington University has reached a settlement of $5.4 million with certain students in the COVID Spring 2020 Semester due to online classes and a lack of “college experience.” Several students, who have been referred to as members of the class in this settlement, claim they are entitled refunds for tuition and fees during COVID 20 George Washington University’s online class. However, George Washington University failed to fulfil its contractual commitment of providing college experience.

Mark Shaffer, a GWU parent, filed a suit alleging breach of contract by the university due to the abrupt switch from on-campus classes to online during the COVID-19 epidemic. The lawsuit sought to recover partial refunds of tuition and fees from students who attended GW in the spring 2020 semester. GW denies the allegations and claims that they would be suitable for class treatment. To avoid costs and uncertainty, the plaintiffs and GW decided to settle. The Court has approved the settlement on a preliminary basis, but it still needs final approval to become effective. The Settlement Class was conditionally certified to settle the case, which allows members to express their support or opposition. If the court rejects the settlement, then the case will proceed as though there was no settlement.

Can I join the settlement?

Eligible: Students who paid partial or full tuition fees during the spring 2020 semester and have not received a full refund yet are part of this settlement.

Not Eligible: Individuals who are excluded from the Settlement Class include judges, defendants, those who have filed timely requests for exclusion, legal representatives, GW students who have not paid tuition or fees for the spring 2020 semester, and individuals who are enrolled in the defendant’s online or continuous enrollment programmes.

Switching Payment Methods from Checks: Students in the Settlement Class will automatically receive their Cash Award through a check. Alternatively, if they prefer Venmo or PayPal, they can choose to submit an Election Form or provide their information to the Settlement Administrator.

What If My Tuition Fees Are Paid By Someone Else? Students whose tuition was paid by the payor can fill out a Non-Student Payor form to get their refunds.


The settlement fund, amounting to $5.4 million, will be divided equally among all class members, excluding attorney fees, service awards, and administration costs. Each student can expect to receive an estimated payment of around $193, with the exception of services for four plantiffs of $10,000 each.

Settlement Website

Important Dates

  • Claim Form Deadline For Non-Student Payor: March 11, 2024
  • Final Approval Hearing Date: April 2, 2024
  • Objection/Exclusion Deadline: March 11, 2024