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23 J.L. & Educ. 523 (1994)
The Overlap Group: A Study of Nonprofit Competition

handle is hein.journals/jle23 and id is 537 raw text is: The Overlap Group: A Study of Nonprofit
After two years of investigation of financial aid programs of colleges and
universities nationwide, the Department of Justice, in 1991, brought an anti-
trust action against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and eight
Ivy League colleges and universities. I The government charged the defendant
schools with violating section one of the Sherman Antitrust Act 2 by participat-
ing in a financial aid disbursement scheme known as the Ivy Overlap Group.
Created by the defendant schools in 1958, the Ivy Overlap Group was an
agreement among the participants3 to refrain from offering financial aid to
student applicants on bases other than financial need, to use standard guide-
lines in determining aid to needy students, and to adjust aid offers so as to
neutralize the effect of financial aid so that a student may choose among Ivy
Group institutions for non-financial reasons. 4
The case, United States v. Brown University, generated a host of commen-
taries on the Overlap practices. Most commentators apply antitrust laws di-
rectly to this case. Some quickly find per se violations. 5 Others weigh the
* J.D. 1994, Yale Law School. I would like to thank Professor Henry Hansmann and Jamie
Heller for their helpful comments on earlier drafts, and Scott Matlock for his support.
1. United States v. Brown Univ., 805 F. Supp. 288, 288 (E.D. Pa. 1992). The Ivy League
schools are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Har-
vard College, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
2. 15 U.S.C. § 1 (1988).
3. In addition to named defendants who created the Overlap Group, 14 other schools partici-
pated in the program: Amherst College, Barnard College, Bowdoin College, Bryn Mawr College,
Colby College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Trinity College, Tufts
University, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.
4. United States v. Brown Univ., 805 F. Supp. at 292-93 (quoting the Manual of the Council
of Ivy League Presidents).
5. Steven Salop & Lawrence White, Antitrust Goes to College, 5 J. ECON. PERSP. 193 (1991);
Erika Smith, Comment, Are Schools Violating the Sherman Act by Collaborating on Financial Aid
Packages, 24 U.S.F. L. REv. 653 (1990).

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