• Kyodo

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The Osaka District Court on Monday ordered Kobe Pharmaceutical University to return prepaid tuition to a prospective student who later decided not to enroll.

However, the court rejected the plaintiff’s demands for a refund of prepaid admission fees, saying the money was payment in exchange for gaining enrollment status.

In the lawsuit, two applicants to the university had demanded refunds for admission fees as well as the tuition one of the applicants prepaid, totaling 1.85 million yen.

Although this was the second case in which the courts ordered such refunds, Monday’s ruling differed from that handed down in July by the Kyoto District Court, which ruled that admission fees should also be returned to students who decide not to enroll prior to the April 1 start of the school year.

The practice of universities demanding an assortment of prepaid fees prior to admission and refusing to return them even if a student does not enroll has drawn bitter complaints from parents and students, since college-bound pupils typically apply to several universities.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry announced in June 2002 that public universities must return prepaid fees to those who decide not to enroll, but the ministry’s policy makes no mention of refunding admission fees.

The two plaintiffs in the latest suit passed the entrance exam of Kobe Pharmaceutical University, a private university, for the 2002 academic year, after the Consumer Contract Law took effect in April 2001.

They claim the law, which says businesses can claim no more than normal damages in a canceled contract, is applicable in their cases and demanded a refund.

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