Yale, Duke and Columbia Among Elite Schools to Settle in Price-Fixing Case

Yale, Duke and Columbia Among Elite Schools to Settle in Price-Fixing Case
Yale, Duke and Columbia Among Elite Schools to Settle in Price-Fixing Case

The lawsuit was filed in January 2022 by five former students who attended some of the 17 elite universities that were part of the 568 Presidents Group, an organization that standardized “need-blind” financial aid practices. The plaintiffs alleged that the universities violated the antitrust immunity they received under the Higher Education Act of 1992, which allowed them to share information and formulas to determine the financial need of applicants, as long as they did not consider the wealth of the students in their admissions decisions. The lawsuit claimed that the universities did not adhere to the “need-blind” policy and instead engaged in a “price-fixing cartel” that reduced the amount of aid they offered to students.

On Tuesday night, a court filing revealed that five of the universities – Brown, Yale, Columbia, Duke and Emory – agreed to pay $104.5 million to settle their portion of the lawsuit, without admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement will be distributed among the class members, who include anyone who applied for financial aid at any of the 17 universities between August 1, 2017 and March 31, 2023. The other 12 universities – MIT, Dartmouth, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rice, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Tufts, Boston College and Washington University in St. Louis – have not yet reached a settlement and are expected to go to trial in May 2023.

The settlement is one of the largest in the history of higher education litigation and has raised questions about the transparency and fairness of the financial aid system in the US. Some critics argue that the 568 Presidents Group created a monopoly that limited the choices and opportunities of students, especially those from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds. Others defend the group as a way to ensure consistency and collaboration among the universities, and to prevent bidding wars that could inflate the cost of education.

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can check out the following links:

(1) Brown, Yale, and other elite schools settle $104.5m in alleged price …. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/cogooglmpanies/brown-yale-and-other-elite-schools-settle-104-5m-in-alleged-price-fixing-lawsuit/ar-BB1hbJvO.
(2) Elite Universities, Including Yale, Duke, and Columbia, Settle in …. https://thenationalera.com/elite-universities-including-yale-duke-and-columbia-settle-in-antitrust-lawsuit/.
(3) Yale will pay $18.5 million to settle price-fixing lawsuit, denies …. https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2024/01/24/yale-will-pay-18-5-million-to-settle-in-price-fixing-lawsuit-denies-allegations-of-wrongdoing/.

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