Elite Universities Settle Lawsuit for $118 Million, Accused of Favoring Wealthy Applicants

Brown, Yale, and Columbia universities have agreed to pay a total of $62 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them and other institutions of favoring wealthy applicants, bringing the total settlements in the case to $118 million. The settlements were disclosed by lawyers representing hundreds of thousands of current and former U.S. college students, who filed the lawsuit in Chicago federal court. Emory and Duke have also reached settlements in this case.

The lawsuit, filed in 2022, alleged that the universities conspired to restrict financial aid by violating a pledge to not consider students’ finances in admissions decisions, thereby giving an advantage to wealthy students. However, the universities, including those that have settled, have denied any wrongdoing.

Under the latest settlements, Yale and Emory will each pay $18.5 million, while Brown will pay $19.5 million. Columbia and Duke have agreed to pay $24 million each. The settlement amount for Vanderbilt has not been disclosed, but the University of Chicago, the first school to settle, plans to pay $13.5 million.

Notably, the remaining defendants in the lawsuit include Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Robert Gilbert, has urged leaders of other schools to address the alleged overcharges faced by middle-class and working-class students.

The settlements still require the approval of U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, who had previously declined to dismiss the lawsuit in 2022. Once approved, these settlements would allow the universities to put the case behind them and refocus on their academic missions.

It is essential to note that the article does not quote any spokesperson or news organization. However, in separate statements, spokespersons for Brown, Duke, Columbia, Emory, and Yale emphasized that settling with the plaintiffs would enable them to move forward from the case and concentrate on their academic pursuits.

The implications of these settlements go beyond just the financial aspect, as they highlight the ongoing debate surrounding college admissions practices and the alleged inequality in access to higher education opportunities. By resolving this lawsuit, the universities aim to address concerns raised by the plaintiffs and rebuild trust within their respective education communities.

In conclusion, Brown, Yale, and Columbia universities have joined Emory and Duke in agreeing to substantial settlements in a lawsuit that accused them of favoring affluent applicants. The settlements, totaling $62 million, aim to resolve allegations that the schools violated antitrust laws and restricted financial aid. As the case moves toward final approval, it brings attention to the broader issues surrounding college admissions and access to education for all.