July 20, 2020

Preti Flaherty Attorneys Sigmund Schutz and Greg Hansel Lead Suit to Help Students Get Housing and Tuition Refunds for Study Abroad Programs Cancelled by CIEE

In the class-action complaint, Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is cited for breach of contract for failing to refund housing and tuition for cancelled study abroad programs

A class-action suit has been filed against CIEE on behalf of thousands of college students who were denied any refund of tuition, room and board, and other fees for Spring 2020 study abroad programs that were cancelled due to COVID-19.  Preti Flaherty attorneys Sigmund Schutz and Greg Hansel and California attorney Behram Parekh of Kirtland & Packard represent the Plaintiff and proposed Class Members, who paid up to $25,000 each for international educational experiences they never received.

On March 15, 2020 CIEE cancelled all of its Spring 2020 study abroad programs due to travel disruptions and safety concerns but announced a harsh no-refund policy for the Spring 2020 programs it cancelled. By denying any refunds, CIEE placed 100% of the financial burden of cancellation on college students, many of whom took out loans to pay for the overseas education, internship and teaching experiences offered by CIEE.

“The raison d’etre of CIEE’s study abroad programs is living and studying in a different culture – an immersive international experience that cannot be replicated by remote learning online. Students bargained and paid for an actual study abroad experience, not online education from their kitchen tables,” according to the Complaint.

CIEE’s no-refund policy is in contrast with other providers of study abroad programs, some of whom have offered at least partial refunds.  The Complaint alleges that CIEE’s policy breaches its contract with students and is unjust.  

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