As our readers may remember, back in January, a federal class action lawsuit was filed against 16 elite universities — Brown University, California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, Vanderbilt University and Yale University — for alleged price fixing in college admissions. Johns Hopkins University was later added to the amended complaint as a defendant. These schools, as the suit claims, colluded to price fix by eliminating competitive financial aid offers in violation of federal antitrust laws. And, yesterday, the United States Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in support of the student-plaintiffs against the 17 universities.
As Kristin Chapman reports for The Dartmouth in a piece entitled “US Department of Justice files statement of interest supporting plaintiffs in financial aid lawsuit against Dartmouth,” “The statement noted that the defendants’ interpretation and arguments made in a joint motion to dismiss the case in April rested on several ‘legal errors.’ Furthermore, the statement supported the plaintiffs’ allegation that Dartmouth — as well as eight other universities in 568 Presidents’ Group — have colluded on price-fixing through using a ‘consensus methodology:’ A formula to determine the amount of financial aid given to a student in need of a scholarship. This collusion ‘eliminates an important dimension of price competition among schools,’ the report wrote.”
We’ve long argued on the pages of this college admissions blog and in the press that elite colleges — irrespective of their so-called need-blind admissions policies — aren’t truly need-blind. Rather, they’re need-aware. And the discovery in this lawsuit may well prove to be a giant data dump that further substantiates the big need-blind lie. As such, we’ll be monitoring the developments of the case as they happen. So stay tuned!
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