Five college graduates sue Yale, Brown and Columbia among 16 other U.S. universities for financial aid

Some of the country’s most prestigious universities – including six of the eight Ivy League schools – have been accused of participating in a “price-fixing cartel” that denied financial aid to nearly 200,000 students in the part of a successful trial.

The lawsuit filed by five plaintiffs named 16 colleges, including Yale, Columbia Brown, Duke, Notre Dame and Georgetown, saying elite schools had colluded to limit price competition and overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars. dollars over two decades, according to the lawsuit filed in Illinois. federal court Sunday evening.

“These same defendants, by their own admission, participated in a price-fixing cartel that aims to reduce or eliminate financial aid as a place of competition, and which in fact artificially inflated the net price of attendance. students receiving financial aid, ‘the complaint said.

The universities would have “used a common methodology for calculating the financial needs of applicants to engage in pricing and unfairly limited aid,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Some of the country’s most prestigious universities – including six of the eight Ivy League schools – have been accused of restricting student financial aid and overcharging those eligible for it. Pictured: Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

These higher education institutions are said to have

These higher education institutions are said to have “used a common methodology to calculate applicants’ financial needs to engage in pricing and unfairly limited aid”

Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, New York City

Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, New York City

Aerial on Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Aerial on Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Under a 1994 federal education law called “Section 586,” schools are allowed to work together on their formulas, but only if applicants’ financial needs are not considered in their admissions process. – what is called blind admission.

The lawsuit alleges that the schools of the so-called 568 Presidents Group “were explicitly aimed at reducing or eliminating price competition among its members” and called the elimination of competition “simply a means of merging around a level of aid uniform and below all potential students. ‘

Among the 16 schools of the 568 Presidents Group accused by the plaintiffs, some of which were attended, were Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania of the Ivy League.

Other top schools are Georgetown, Northwestern, Duke, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Universities of Chicago, Notre Dame, Emory, Rice, and Vanderbilt.

“Elite private universities like the defendants are the guardians of the American dream,” the plaintiffs wrote. “The misconduct of the“ accused ”is therefore particularly flagrant because it has reduced a critical path to upward mobility. ”

The lawsuit also claims that these universities are examining whether applicants can afford the tuition fees under certain circumstances and therefore should not be eligible for the antitrust exemption.

An MIT spokesperson told Dailymail.com that the university is reviewing the case and “will respond in court in due course.”

Most universities declined to comment, while representatives from Northwestern, Emory, Dartmouth and Notre Dame said they would not comment on pending litigation.

However, a Yale spokeswoman told the WSJ that the school’s financial aid policy is “100% in compliance with all applicable laws.”

A spokeswoman for Cal Tech said the school’s helping practices did not amount to illegality.

A spokesperson for Brown said the complaint was “without merit.”

A spokesperson for Brown said the complaint was

A spokesperson for Brown said the complaint was “without merit.” Pictured: Brown University in Rhode Island

Universities in the 568 Presidents Group say they are blind to need, including Georgetown (pictured), which means they don't see financial aid as an admission requirement

Universities in the 568 Presidents Group say they are blind to need, including Georgetown (pictured), which means they don’t see financial aid as an admission requirement

The increase in tuition fees at private universities has exceeded inflation in recent decades, according to the College Board.

According to the schools’ websites, the undergraduate tuition fees at Yale and Columbia for the current academic year are $ 59,950 and $ 60,514, respectively, excluding room and board.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified triple damages for financial aid recipients who have attended schools since 2003, which could include 170,000 students.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs have said that current undergraduates are invited to join the class action lawsuit because they are considered eligible.

Many schools offer financial assistance based on family income, known as need-based assistance.

Universities in the 568 Presidents Group say they are blind to need, which means they don’t factor financial aid into admissions decisions.

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