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Valley man files $10 million lawsuit against Auburn University

VALLEY — A Valley man and his daughter have filed a lawsuit against Auburn University for $10 million, claiming the university wrongfully charged them out-of-state tuition, according to the complaint filed in Lee County Court.

In a lawsuit obtained by the Valley Times-News, Jeffrey and Brooke Prosser have named Gov. Kay Ivey, Auburn University, Auburn University Board of Trustees and Jay Gogue, acting president of Auburn University in the three-count, $10 million lawsuit.

In count one the lawsuit, the Prosser’s attorney Mark Tippins, says Brooke Prosser has qualified for in-state tuition for more than the past 12 months and that Auburn University has wrongly and fraudulently denied Brooke Prosser in-state tuition causing her financial and emotional detriment.

“Her father Jeffrey Prosser has attempted to see redress for this wrong through the established appeals process and has exhausted all his and her administrative remedies available through the university procedures and practices requirements,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint says there are no further chances for Brooke Prosser to appeal her status as an in-state resident, even though she qualifies for it.

Auburn’s website says to be classified as a resident, a person much be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident and has lived in the state for at least 12 months immediately preceding current registration.

Tippins said Brooke Prosser is attempting to reclassify as an in-state resident based on the fact she is a dependent of her father. Tippins said Jeffrey Prosser is a full-time resident and works in Alabama, which should satisfy the requirement. Jeffrey Prosser was a Georgia resident when Brooke Prosser first enrolled at Auburn but has since moved into the state, Tippins said.

“After a year, she qualified properly according to the law,” Tippins said. “Then, Auburn kept refusing her.”

In count two, the Prossers allege they have learned that the Auburn Office of the Registrars and its appeals committee are told and advised to wrongly and fraudulently deny in-state status to legitimately and adequately qualified applicants.

“This is flagrant fraud and is actionable in the courts of the State of Alabama,” the lawsuit says. “Auburn has conducted this behavior as a pattern and practice for many years.”

The lawsuit goes on to say the Prossers also may seek to convert this case into a class-action lawsuit, Tippins said.

Additionally, the complaint says Auburn stands to gain financially from denying in-state status to qualified students.

“This is done in blatant violation and total disregard of the Code of Alabama and Auburn’s own policies and guidelines,” the lawsuit says.

In count three, the Prossers request a refund of all money paid to Auburn University more than what they believe should have been paid for an out-of-state student.

The lawsuit also says the Prossers have demanded a trial by jury.

Auburn University did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

According to Auburn University, in-state tuition for undergraduates is $5,746 per semester, while out-of-state tuition is $15,562.