Welcome to the Shaffer v. George Washington University Class Action Website.

Your legal rights are affected whether you act or don’t act. Read this website and the Notice carefully.

On May 1, 2023, a class action Complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 1:20-cv-01145-RJL, against The George Washington University, et al.

A Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit between Defendant George Washington University, et al. (collectively, “Defendant” or “GW”) and certain individuals who have alleged that they, and the Settlement Class Members, are entitled to partial refunds of tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester because GW transitioned to remote instruction in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with District of Columbia legal mandates.

The proposed Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by GW, and GW denies all allegations of wrongdoing and disclaims all liability with regard to all claims in the Lawsuit.

You are a member of the Settlement Class if you are a student or a Payor who paid or incurred tuition and/or fees to any Released Party in connection with the Spring 2020 semester, whose tuition and/or fees have not been refunded in their entirety, and who is not excluded from the Settlement Class. 

Your Legal Rights and Options in This Lawsuit
Change Your Payment Options

By using the Election Form, Students in the Settlement Class may

  1. provide an updated mailing address for sending a check, or
  2. elect to receive the Cash Award by Venmo or PayPal instead of a paper check.

Settlement Class Members may also submit this information to the Settlement Administrator by mail at P.O. Box 2178, Portland, OR 97208-2178.

Alternatively, by using the Non-Student Non-Student Payor Payment Claim Form, a Student and a Payor who made payments of tuition and fees on that Student’s behalf for the Spring 2020 semester may agree and communicate to the Settlement Administrator via a jointly filed Non-Student Payor Payment Claim Form that the Cash Award for that Student should be paid to the Payor. In that instance, the student will not receive a Cash Award.

The deadline to file you Non-Student Payor Payment Claim Form and Election Form is March 11, 2024.

Exclude Yourself

You will not receive your Cash Award, but you will retain any rights you may have to sue GW about the issues in this case. The deadline to exclude yourself is March 11, 2024.


Write to the Court explaining why you don’t like the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, you will be bound by the Court’s decision and the Settlement Agreement. The deadline to object to the Settlement is March 11, 2024.

Attend A Hearing

Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement during the Final Approval Hearing on April 2, 2024.

Do Nothing

Students in the Settlement Class who do nothing automatically receive a payment by check to the student’s last known mailing address as reflected in GW’s records after the Effective Date of the Settlement Agreement. You will give up any rights you may have to sue GW about the issues in this case.

These rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained further in the Notice and on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page of this website. For complete details, please see the Settlement Agreement, which is available here.