Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reached a $6.5 million settlement in a 2020 class action lawsuit over the transition to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. A district judge in upstate New York finalized the agreement on Jan. 9.
Any current or former RPI student who was enrolled as of March 10, 2020, is entitled to an equal share of the settlement funds. The university clarified that the settlement did not represent a finding of wrongdoing, denying “all allegations of liability on any basis.”
RPI is the latest institution to settle a class action COVID lawsuit. Hundreds were filed after students were sent off campus during the pandemic—and after nearly three years, institutions appear eager to wipe their slates clean. Earlier this month, George Washington University settled a COVID lawsuit for $5.4 million after a legal saga in which an initial decision to dismiss the case was reversed.
Despite initial skepticism of the flurry of lawsuits filed against universities for switching to online classes in 2020, appeals courts have reversed several lower-court dismissals, including cases against New York University and American University. Many private universities, including Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities, have reached multimillion-dollar settlements in similar suits.