To the University Community

In September 1989, the University of Pennsylvania received from the United States Department of Justice a request for information in connection with an inquiry into potential agreements among colleges and universities relating to financial aid, tuition, and faculty and administrative salaries. Cooperating fully with the investigation, the University provided many thousands of documents to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department's inquiry culminated in the entry on September 20, 1991, of a final judgment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Under the terms of that judgment, the University of Pennsylvania and seven other Ivy League schools agreed not to exchange certain types of information, such as financial aid data and "plans and projections, including budget assumptions, regarding future student fees or general faculty salary levels...."

In 1992, Congress modified the requirements of the final judgment by enacting legislation that allowed colleges and uni-versities to agree to award institutional financial aid on the basis of need; the law did not authorize them to discuss financial aid awards to specific common applicants. That law, which expired on September 30, 1994, was replaced by legislation that permits colleges and universities that practice "need-blind" admissions to: (a) agree to award aid only on the basis of financial need; (b) use common principles of analysis for determining need; (c) use a common aid application form; and (d) exchange certain limited financial aid data with respect to commonly admitted applicants prior to making an aid award.

"Need-blind" admissions is defined as making admissions decisions "without regard to the financial circum stances" of the student. The law does not authorize colleges and universities to discuss specific awards to common applicants. Under the final judgment, the University is still required to maintain an enforcement program that disseminates the rules set out in the judgment and monitors compliance with the antritrust laws.

In accordance with the requirements of the final judgment, I have been designated Antitrust Compliance Officer with responsibility for implementing the antitrust compliance program. While complying with the final judgment is a priority, it should not impede appropriate communication among schools. Accordingly, we are republishing the final judgment in United States v. Brown University, et al. and the University's guidelines on cooperative exchanges of certain University information. Attorneys for the University are available to confer with you regarding compliance with the final judgment and the antitrust laws. Please direct your questions to the Office of the General Counsel, 221 College Hall; telephone: 898-7660. Shelley Z. Green, General Counsel

Guidelines: Cooperative Exchanges of Certain University Information

  1. These Guidelines apply to University information pertaining to tuition (including fees for room and board), financial aid and salary levels for faculty and administrative personnel.
  2. University officials may disclose policies and information to the public and may communicate to others policies and information once they have been made public. However, no University official shall communicate to an official of another school any plans or projections, including budget assumptions, regarding tuition and fees or general faculty salary levels prior to their final approval by the administration or the Trustees, as appropriate.
  3. University officials must not participate in one-on-one or roundtable discussions with representa tives of other institutions about projected or anticipated levels of tuition, fees, and salaries, or budget assumptions, and if such discussions occur, University officials must excuse themselves.
  4. Decisions by the University relating to the setting of tuition, fees and salaries or the awarding of financial aid must not be based upon or refer to projections of tuition, fees, and salaries or financial aid by other educational institutions. University officials cannot solicit information concerning projected levels of tuition, fees and salaries or the methodology for awarding financial aid at other educational institutions.
  5. No University official may request from, communicate to or exchange with any college or University confidential financial aid information. For purposes of this policy, confidential financial aid information includes but is not limited to the application of a Needs Analysis Formula to, or how family or parental contribution will be calculated for, a specific applicant; the University's plans or projections regarding summer savings requirements or self-help; the aid awarded or proposed to be awarded any applicant except as required by federal law.
  6. In general, current and historical data relating to tuition, fees and salaries may be discussed and exchanged with representatives of other institutions, unless such disclosure is proscribed (for reasons other than the antitrust laws) by University or legal regulations. (For example, the University generally will not disclose the salary of any identified individual without his or her consent.) Thus, University officials may release to representatives of other institutions and to the press information relating to current or past levels of tuition, fees and aggregate salaries, and may participate in discussions with representatives of other institutions about such current or past information. However, University officials cannot disclose budget assumptions about future tuition, fees and salaries, or suggest that the University will maintain current levels of tuition, fees and salaries or will modify them in any particular way (e.g., to agree that tuition and fees will rise by a specified percentage).
  7. Any University official who learns of a violation of these Guidelines or of Section IV of the Final Judgment, must report it to the Antitrust Compliance Officer .

Questions about these Guidelines should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel.

See this issue for the Final Judgement of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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