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Lawsuits & Litigation

Student Sues Auburn University for $10m and In-State Tuition

— October 6, 2019

Brooke and Jeffrey Prosser say Auburn is ripping off some Alabama students to the tune of $30,000 per year.

An Auburn University student and her father have filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming it’s fraudulently charging in-state students out-of-state tuition.

According to the Opelika-Auburn News, the plaintiffs are Valley residents Jeffrey Prosser and his daughter, Brooke Prosser. While both live in Valley, Alabama, now, they’re formerly from Georgia.

In the suit, Brooker Prosser claims she’s qualified for in-state tuition since starting school at Auburn. Despite her change in address, Prosser says Auburn still considers her a Georgia resident.

Like many schools across the country, Auburn provides massively different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. The Opelika-Auburn News notes that the in-state rate is $5,746 per semester. In contrast, out-of-state students pay $15,562 per semester, nearly three times as much.

The suit names Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Auburn University, and the Auburn University Board of Trustees as defendants.

Jeffrey Prosser says that, despite his best efforts, Auburn has refused to reconsider or change the family’s residency determination.

“After going through every single process and trying to be a gentleman about this process, I’ve felt they are in violation of both the laws in Alabama and [the laws in Auburn] and I told them I was going to seek legal process and pursue this to the courts,” Prosser told the Opelika-Auburn News.

Image via Brian Turner/Flickr. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Prosser told the paper that he’s tried to file an appeals claim on behalf of his daughter—not just once, but thrice. The appeals were denied every time. All the while, he struggled to speak with anyone at Auburn. Prosser says university officials avoided his calls and responded to written inquiries with form letters.

The family’s lawsuit, per its own complaint, isn’t yet seeking any form of financial damages for erroneously listing Brooke as a Georgia resident—but is using the roundabout threat of litigation to essentially coerce Auburn into changing Brooke Prosser’s residency status.

“This action does not yet involve any requests for financial damages for any particular trustee nor any particular officer or agent of Auburn University at this time,” the suit states. “However, hereinafter, the plaintiffs seek financial damages from the defendant Auburn University and any of its employees, trustees or agents who flagrantly, fraudulently and wrongfully denied in-state tuition to plaintiff Brooke Prosser.”

However, the action goes on to make further demands, including one for millions of dollars.

The suit, says the Opelika-Auburn News, makes a series of requests: the first asks the court to issue a writ or order of mandamus to compel Auburn to recognize Brooke Prosser as ‘a bona fide Alabama full time resident and citizen.’ The second claim alleges fraud, accusing Auburn of intentionally withholding in-state status from a student it knew it to be an Alabama resident.

The third claim demands remuneration and a refund. The Prossers, per the Opelika-Auburn News¸ believe $10 million should be sufficient to “cover the amount they have previously paid plus damages.”

The Opelika-Auburn News notes that Auburn University—again, like many schools across the country—does not determine residency based on property ownership or current address at the time of matriculation. Instead, residency status is accorded to students who’ve lived in Alabama for at least 12 months prior to registration, provided they haven’t been attending another academic institution in the state.

This isn’t the only lawsuit Auburn University is facing from a current or former student. A long-time Auburn softball player, Alexa Nemeth, is also seeking “permanent relief from sexual discrimination, harassment and hostile environment” stemming from a scandal which involved associate head softball coach Corey Myers and his father, head coach Clint Myers.

The elder Myers allegedly allowed Corey to abuse his position to pursue intimate relationships with Auburn softball players. Both men later resigned.

Nemeth is seeking placement on Auburn’s softball team, damages and injunctive relief, and remuneration for attorneys’ fees and costs.


$10 million lawsuit filed against AU

Former Auburn softball player Alexa Nemeth files lawsuit against university, Clint and Corey Myers

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