To the University Community:

In September 1989, the University received from the U.S. Justice Department a request for information in connection with its 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 inquiry culminated in the entry on September 20, 1991, of a final judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Under the terms of that judgment, Penn 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. . . ." The University is required to maintain an enforcement program that communicates the rules set out in the judgment and monitors compliance with the antitrust laws. In 1992 Congress modified the requirements of the final judgment by enacting legislation that allowed colleges and universities to agree to award institutional financial aid on the basis of need and to discuss and adopt principles for determining student financial need. The law, however, did not authorize them to discuss financial aid awards to specific common applicants. That law was replaced by legislation permitting colleges and universities that practice need-blind admission to agree to award aid only on the basis of financial need, to use common principles of analysis for determining need, to use a common aid application form, and to exchange certain limited financial data with respect to commonly-admitted applicants prior to making an aid award. The legislation defines "need-blind admission" as making admissions decisions without regard to the financial circumstances of the student. The law does not authorize colleges and universities to discuss specific aid awards to common applicants, and 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 antitrust 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. The Office of the General Counsel is available to answer your questions about compliance with the final judgment and the antitrust laws.

--Shelley Z. Green, Office of the General Counsel

Guidelines on 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 representatives 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.

Final Judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania begins click here.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 4, September 22, 1998