Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Lawsuit alleges 16 major U.S. universities, including Yale and Georgetown, violated antitrust laws by using a shared methodology to determine students’ financial aid.

Yale University is one of more than a dozen higher education institutions in the United States that are being sued for the alleged violation of antitrust laws and the unfair restriction of financial aid grants to students, reports The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).pay wall) Monday.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois by attorneys representing five former students who attended some of the 16 institutions that filed the lawsuit, according to the WSJ.

The case revolves around the thorny issue of how universities determine a student’s ability to pay university fees, which has reached astronomical heights in the US and has sparked a student debt crisis.

The case alleges that the universities illegally used a shared methodology to determine financial aid grants because the institutions sometimes outweigh candidates’ ability to pay for their higher education, the WSJ said.

Universities in the US are allowed to work together on formulas for aid grants, but only if they practice so-called “need-blind” admissions that do not take into account a student’s ability to pay when determining who enters and who does not, the WSJ reports .

The lawsuit seeks damages as well as a permanent end to the institutions working together to calculate financial need and determine the size of aid packages awarded to candidates.

College admissions in the US are deeply opaque. Few candidates end up paying the full sticker price for tuition, but aid packages can vary dramatically.

About 43.2 million Americans have student loan debt, according to the Education Data Initiative, which puts the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the US at $ 1.75 trillion.

The lawsuit is pending against some of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the country.

In addition to Yale, other universities mentioned in the lawsuit include Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Rice University and Vanderbilt University.

According to the WSJ, attorneys claim that more than 170,000 undergraduate students who attended the schools mentioned in the lawsuit and received partial financial aid dating back 18 years may be eligible to join the lawsuit as plaintiffs.

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