Brown University maintained that all financial aid decisions were made in the “best interests of families and within the law,” but in a statement on Tuesday night, said resolving the case will permit it to “focus its resources on further growth in generous aid for students.”
The agreements from the five universities came months after the University of Chicago agreed to pay $13.5 million to settle its portion of the case. Other schools, including Cornell, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, remain mired in the litigation, with no trial date set.
The sprawling lawsuit targeted 17 schools, which were, or had been, members of the 568 Presidents Group, named for the legal provision that offered antitrust cover. The case contended that universities did not actually abide by the need-blind admissions mandate when they deliberated over wait-listed applicants, making their financial aid protocols illegal.
Vanderbilt University, for example, said on one of its websites in 2018 that it reserved “the right to be need-aware when admitting wait-listed students,” echoing previous statements by university employees.
Vanderbilt, located in Nashville, told the court last year that it planned to settle.
By considering need in any context, the suit argued, the universities were defying the conditions of their antitrust exemption. Complicating the path for the universities, the case drew muscle from a legal doctrine that holds that members of a group are responsible for actions of others in the same group.