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SUNY system issuing tuition refunds following Strum v. SUNY case

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By Lauren Mineau

News Editor

theaspnews@gmail.com

The State University of New York system will be sending approximately 20,000 notices to current and former students who may be eligible for a tuition refund as a result of paying non-resident tuition while eligible for the in-state rate.

SUNY estimates 85 students are eligible and the average refund will be $30,000 per student. The system has set aside $800,000 which will be available for those eligible to claim or put into a scholarship fund, according to David Doyle a SUNY spokesman.

The notices will be sent out in the next few weeks and may include those who graduated from an approved New York State high school or received a GED in New York State, attended one of the SUNY schools included from the fall 2007 to the spring 2011 terms and/or paid the non-resident tuition rate (also called the out-of-state rate).

Affected campuses are: University at Albany, Alfred State, Binghamton University, College at Brockport, University at Buffalo, Buffalo State, Canton, Cobleskill, Cortland, Delhi, Downstate Medical Center, Empire State College, Environmental Science & Forestry, Farmingdale State, Fredonia, Geneseo, Maritime, Morrisville State, New Paltz, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Optometry, Oswego, Plattsburgh State, Potsdam, Purchase, Stony Brook University, SUNYIT, and Upstate Medical University.

The notices are being issued due to the results of a class action settlement agreement, Strum v. SUNY, a case where two Binghamton University students realized they had been paying double the appropriate tuition during their time at the university. One of the students, Raquel Balsam lived in East Brunswick, N.J. and was charged nearly double what an in-state student would pay to attend Binghamton.

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Under New York State’s Education Law Section 355(2)(h)(8), enacted in 2002, requires SUNY to charge out-of state students the same tuition as in-state if they meet certain criteria they include, graduating from a New York State high school. Balsam commuted to a Brooklyn high school and applying to a SUNY school within five years of graduation.

In 2011, Balsam and two other Binghamton students, Sara Strum and Lauren Beer filed the lawsuit and demanded a refund between in-state and out-of-state tuition accusing the university of “attempting to deceive and mislead the consuming public” or “at best to obfuscate” students’ rights under the law, according to a 2011 New York Times article.

If you qualify for a refund, claims must be submitted by Sept. 4, 2013. Scholarships and grants will not be refunded but the payments may include interest. Upon submission, SUNY will check records to determine the refund amount.

To find out if you are eligible for a refund check out www.suny.edu/tuitionsettlement.

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