This seminar has implications beyond COVID issues. During COVID, many schools eliminated in-person learning. The question arose as to whether colleges and universities had to give refunds in connection with changes made in their educational approach, and if so, under what circumstances. However, the question generally as to the nature of the contractual relationship between college and student has been around for a long time.
The presenter had one such case, Ross v. Penn State University, which ultimately went to a jury trial resulting in a verdict for the graduate student, who was said to have a contract with the University. While students need to adjust inconveniences in student life, attending college or university does not mean that ordinary contract principles are jettison. While not every benefit touted by the university or colleges gives rise to a contractual commitment, ordinary contract principles will oblige colleges and universities to act in conformity with those principles.