Students from Moscow State University (MSU) are unhappy with corona changes and are suing for a refund.

Not all students at MSU have to pay to attend, but those that do are demanding a partial refund through the court system. They claim that the changes the university made in the spring and fall 2020 semesters have led to a lowering in the quality of education they’re receiving. For example, students are no longer able to use the libraries, meet personally with professors, complete internships, or access laboratory equipment. The distance education that resulted, they say, turned MSU into a system of self-education.

The students decided to sue the school after an online conference between MSU students and members of the Moscow City Bar Association on October 19. What are the students’ chances of success?

According to one lawyer, Lyudmila Aivar, the students have some ground to stand on: “The court will certainly consider this statement of claim. An agreement on educational services is the same document as a purchase and sale agreement, there are persons who provide the service, there are persons who receive the service. If the service is provided of inadequate quality, then the client has the right to demand a commensurate price reduction. In this case, I think it will be so.”

The cost of one year at MSU varies, from around R240,000 a year (approximately $3,157) for some master's programs, to R570,000 a year ($7,500) for bachelor programs in management and the higher school of business. According to MSU Rector Victor Sadovnichy, some 20% of students pay for their education.

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