Yale and MIT were among the elite colleges that just lost their bid to end the class action suit against alleged admissions collusion. Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, a federal judge with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, denied the schools’ motions to dismiss the case. In his decision, he ruled the schools were not covered by the “568 exemption.” This exemption upholds a partial antitrust shield for colleges that act together to promote need-blind admissions policies and Judge Kennelly found it only applies if every school is completely need-blind.
Judge Kennelly wrote, “Because the plaintiffs plausibly allege that at least one (and possibly all) of the defendants admitted students on a need-aware basis, they plausibly allege that none of the defendants are protected.”
The alleged admission collusion class-action suit, filed in January, accuses the universities of using the same financial aid formula rather than competing against each other by offering more generous packages. The plaintiffs noted that many of these schools allegedly show preferential treatment to applicants from wealthy families with financial ties to the schools. This treatment disqualifies them from sheltering behind the “568 exemption.”
In addition to Yale and MIT, the other elite colleges named in the antitrust lawsuit are Brown, the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Rice, Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Three notable names our astute readers will notice are omitted are Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.
This class action lawsuit has a long way to go. We don’t doubt the targeted schools will continue to seek its dismissal. There always remains a chance with American litigation that an out-of-court settlement could be reached that could limit the release of terms to the public and not require any admission of guilt. We will continue to monitor this admission litigation and keep everyone updated!