Why Should the Ivy League Have An Antitrust Exemption?

I know there are bigger problems in the world and I’m not going to try to solve them (though I may throw in my two cents on some of them over time).

But here’s one that bugs me and I’ll bet few readers know that since 1994 the Ivy League and other academically selective schools that agree to admit students on a need-blind basis can discuss and even agree on common financial aid policies with other like-minded schools. This exemption grew out of a settlement of a major antitrust case the Department of Justice brought against the Ivy League and MIT in the early 1990s, which the Ivies settled, MIT fought in court, and in the first three months of my being on the job as a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust at DOJ, I helped settle with MIT.

It’s all described here: https://newrepublic.com/article/163001/congress-let-ivy-league-operate-monopoly

Clue: the antitrust exemption had little justification then, and much less now, especially in our current era where about the only thing the two parties can agree on is that there should be more vigorous antitrust enforcement.

The exemption expires in September 2022, unless like in three previous episodes Congress renews it. Read the article to see why it shouldn’t.

Short answer: because the exemption reduces total financial aid, making many of the most selective schools in the country, where annual costs exceed $90K, even more expensive than they would be in a fully competitive market. Hurts middle class students and their families, in particular. Time to the end the exemption.

More later, about this, and some of my other writing endeavors, and thoughts about this crazy world….. see you soon.

Bob