Law grads and others caught a break from a San Francisco Superior Court judge today, when he ruled that the UC Regents must pay back $38 million to professional degree students who were forced to absorb tuition increases midway through their programs back in 2003.
Danielle Leonard of San Francisco's Altshuler Berzon, who represented the students, said the court confirmed "again" that "students have rights enforceable by the law."
“When these students entered the University beginning in 2003, the University of California had expressly committed to keep the amount it would charge professional degree students constant for their entire enrollment. It should not have required five years of litigation for the University of California to comply with the promise it made to these students when they entered their programs,” she said in a press release (.pdf)
The Regents had stated that the tuition increases, which affected approximately 2,900 students, were instituted to bridge a budget shortfall gap. (Sound familiar?)
S.F. Superior Judge John Munter emphasized in his ruling in Luquetta v. Regents (.pdf) that ordinary contract rules apply to universities in their dealings with students, according to a previous decision in Kashmiri v. Regents.