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Brazilian firm sues over University of Missouri partnership

Brazilian firm sues over University of Missouri partnership

May 3rd, 2019 by Associated Press in Missouri News

COLUMBIA (AP) — A Brazilian education firm is suing the University of Missouri over their partnership to prepare students for college in the United States through an online curriculum.

High School Servicos Educacionais alleges in the lawsuit filed last month that the university breached their agreement by trying to directly enroll Brazilian students into its own pre-college program, Mizzou K-12 Online, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

The agreement states the university will enroll Brazilian students in the program through the firm, which paid the school nearly $4.9 million from 2015 through 2018.

Brazilians currently make up more than 4,000 of the 21,000 students enrolled in the program worldwide, according to the lawsuit.

The partnership that began in May 2015 didn't list a compensation structure, according to court records. The firm and the university's program would informally work together "to establish reasonable monetary compensation," the lawsuit stated.

But in May 2018, the university sought an additional $4.1 million from the firm, according to the lawsuit. The firm attempted to negotiate the expenses, but the university sent another bill in January for $5.1 million.

"By sending HSE surprise invoices dating back to the inception of the agreement in 2015, (Mizzou K-12) breached the terms of the agreement to work in good faith with HSE," the lawsuit said.

The university sent the firm a letter in February stating its intent to end their agreement in 2020. On the same day, the university also sent Brazilian students enrolled in the program an email saying that Mizzou K-12 will no longer be associated with the firm next year.

The letter also stated the university's plans to work directly with schools in 2020.

The firm claims the university's attempt to circumvent HSE breaches the terms of their agreement, according to the lawsuit.

University spokesman Christian Basi said the school disagrees with the lawsuit's claims. Basi declined to comment on the specific charges against the university.