Can You Sue a School for Breach of Contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement to take an action or provide a product or service in order to receive something else (typically money) in return. If one party does not keep up their side of the bargain, they have breached the contract. This means that when schools don’t fulfill their promises regarding education, and you have paid tuition for the educational services provided by the school, you may have a case for breach of contract.

Private schools and universities can always be sued for breach of contract, as can some public universities. While public schools have what is known as “sovereign immunity,” which means they cannot be sued, most states have waived this immunity in certain situations to allow students and parents to file particular legal actions against public universities.  

If you are a student or the parent of a student who is unhappy with your school, it might be time to speak with an attorney. You may believe that the school has broken its side of the contract by not providing what was promised, which could be grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit. However, it’s essential to know that you usually can’t sue just because you’re angry and disappointed in the education you received. There must be evidence that the school broke its end of the bargain before any legal action can be taken. 

Can I sue my school for lying?

In some cases, you can sue your school for lying, particularly if it convinced you to enroll by lying about the nature of the education provided or other relevant information. This type of lying is known as fraud, and you can receive compensation for the financial damage caused by your reliance on the school’s lies.

Examples of actionable lies may include:

  • The projected salaries and employment opportunities for graduates
  • The length of time an educational program will take to complete
  • The qualifications, skills, and knowledge of instructors
  • Whether a student is capable of completing a particular educational program

How do I file a formal complaint against a school?

To file a formal complaint against an elementary or secondary public school, you should contact your local school district and the state department of education if needed. If you want to file a complaint against a post-secondary institution, you can contact your state’s department of higher education for assistance in filing a complaint. You can also file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education about issues involving financial aid, fraud, abuse of federal funds, special education, and civil rights. 

What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a school?

If you want to sue a school, it’s essential to work with an education lawyer who has experience suing schools. Because suing a school is complex, you need a lawyer who understands how sovereign immunity works in your state and is aware of all the administrative remedies you must pursue before filing a lawsuit. You will likely be unable to determine if you can sue a school without consulting with a knowledgeable education lawyer, so if you are thinking about pursuing a cause of action for breach of contract against a school, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

Have questions? Schedule a free consultation. or (619) 323-3200

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About & RMO Lawyers

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