Supreme Court discards appeal of tuition ruling

The appeal was made after a ruling that UM illegally charged fees.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:02 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday turned back the University of Missouri system’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that it illegally charged in-state tuition.

The state high court’s decision not to hear the case means a lower court judge will now have to determine the exact amount of damages in the case, which has been estimated at $472 million.

Last year, St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Romines ruled the university illegally charged tuition to in-state residents between 1986 and 2001. That judgment was appealed before the case’s second phase — which would determine the amount of damages — could begin.

Bob Herman, who represents the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, said the state Supreme Court’s order, which was issued without comment, sends the case back in the right direction after a series of unsuccessful appeals.

“After a nine-month delay, it’s going back to where it belongs,” he said.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in 1998, accused the university system of charging in-state students “fees” that amounted to tuition. An 1872 state law mandated free education for Missouri’s “youths” at any of the four campuses.

The university has argued that its “fees” for in-state undergraduates were legal. But last December, Romines ruled that the university violated state law between 1986 and 2001 — when the 1872 statute was overturned — by charging what amounted to tuition for students ages 17 to 21.

University lawyers expect to begin sifting through thousands of internal records to determine the exact amount charged to more than 150,000 current and former students, according to a news release.

Attorneys for both sides will likely meet within the next month to determine the timetable for the damage phase of the trial, Herman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.