Most students suing for refunds for tuition and fees paid after the abrupt closure of their colleges and universities during the first COVID-19 lockdowns have cleared their first hurdles, with judges in more than a half-dozen cases allowing claims to go forward.

About 200 class actions hit the courts soon after campuses closed this spring, most asserting breach of contract and unjust enrichment on behalf of various classes of students seeking refunds for tuition, fees, and housing and meal costs. Judges in Michigan, Ohio and Florida have allowed some of those claims to survive, despite assertions from the schools that students have not identified a contract or proven that, once in a virtual setting, they had breached it.