The University of Mary Washington and University of Baltimore are joining a class-action lawsuit against the state of Maryland and other schools in a bid to make it easier for students to get credit for their degree and work in STEM-related jobs.
The University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California have also joined the class-Action lawsuit, according to the Maryland State Bar Association.
The plaintiffs include students at the University at Albany, the University Of Maryland, and the Johns Hopkins University.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed the suit in Maryland’s U.S. District Court on Monday.
In a statement, Frosh said the state “has consistently failed to provide students and employers with meaningful guidance about the process for granting a student’s bachelor’s degree or certificate, or to ensure that all students and their employers receive accurate information about the eligibility of their degree programs.”
Frosh said in his lawsuit that state officials failed to take the “extraordinary steps” required to help students who are “underrepresented” and were “in the dark” about their degree requirements.
The state’s current process, Frohs lawsuit said, “is based on the assumption that students will obtain their degrees when they enroll, and that students who have been awarded degrees will remain enrolled in their programs.”
The Maryland Bar Association has a website with links to additional information about student aid, the state’s academic programs, and employment opportunities for attorneys.
The state’s law requires schools to provide information about students who graduate and the degree they obtained, as well as their work experience, to students seeking credit for college.
Frohs lawsuit also cites the state Office of Student Financial Aid, which says it does not have “the authority to deny credit for students who enroll in a program but do not complete it.”
The law also allows universities to use student records to determine whether a student was awarded a degree, and to deny students who withdraw from their degree program an award if they have “a history of disciplinary infractions.”