Student Contract Case Law


Mangla v. Brown University, 1998

The student-college relationship is essentially contractual in nature.
contracts contain an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing

Zumbrun v. University of Southern California, 25 Cal.App.3d 1, 101 Cal.Rptr. 499, 504 (1972)

The basic legal relation between a student and a private university or college is contractual in nature.
The catalogues, bulletins, circulars, and regulations of the institution made available to the matriculant become a part of the contract

Ross v. Creighton University, 957 F.2d 410 (7th Cir. 1992)

education is a service rendered on an immensely greater scale than other professional services
It is held generally in the United States that the basic legal relation between a student and a private university or college is contractual in nature.
The catalogues, bulletins, circulars, and regulations of the institution made available to the matriculant become a part of the contract
Zumbrun v. University of Southern California, 25 Cal.App.3d 1, 101 Cal.Rptr. 499, 504 (1972)
Indeed, there seems to be no dissent from this proposition.
A contract between a private institution and a student confers duties upon both parties which cannot bearbitrarily disregarded and may be judicially enforced
DeMarco, 352 N.E.2d at 361-62

Basch v. George Washington University, 1977

the relationship between a university and its students is contractual in nature. It is also accepted that the terms set down in a university's bulletin become a part of that contract

Dinu v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, 1999

That the relationship between a university and its students has a strong, albeit flexible, contractual flavor is an idea pretty well accepted in modern case law

Russell v. Salve Regina College, 938 F.2d 315, 316 (1st Cir.1991)

The terms of the contract may include statements provided in student manuals and registration materials

Merrow v. Goldberg, 1987

[b]etween a student and a college there is a relationship that is contractual in nature.

Holert v. University of Chicago, 1990

Some of the contractual terms and conditions between Holert and the University were embodied in the Graduate School of Business' Announcements catalog and its Dean of Students Handbook, as well as in the University's Student Information Manual

Fellheimer v. Middlebury College, 1994

Between a student and a college there is a relationship which is contractual in nature. E.g.,
Wilson v. Illinois Benedictine College, 112 Ill.App.3d 932, 68 Ill.
Dec. 257, 262, 445 N.E.2d 901, 906 (1983).
The terms of the contract are contained in the brochures, course offering bulletins, and other official statements, policies and publications of the institution

Babcock v. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1989;

The school publications, including the school handbook, create a contract that is subject to judicial review

NASPA Journal, Vol. 40, no. 1,
Fall 2002, by Dennis E. Gregory
The Student Handbook, Federal Law, and Electronic Technology

The student handbooks of colleges and universities, as well as other documents such as the college or university catalog, housing manual, and now perhaps the institutional web pages, are perceived by most authorities to be part of an ongoing contract between the institution and its students
(Buckner, 1988; Correnti, 1988; Shur, 1988; Weeks and Davis, 1993; Kaplin and Lee, 1995; Hoekema, 1996).