By Sean Salai, featuring Inez Stepman, senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum

A federal class-action lawsuit accuses 16 top universities, including Georgetown and some Ivy League schools, of conspiring to fix tuition prices by eliminating competitive financial aid offers to students.

The complaint says that by “their own admission” on a website that lists member schools, the universities “have participated in a price-fixing cartel that is designed to reduce or eliminate financial aid as a locus of competition, and that in fact has artificially inflated the net price of attendance for students receiving financial aid.”

The lawsuit seeks financial damages for students who paid tuition or room and board at the schools from 2003 to the present, plus an injunction to end the practice, which it says violates federal antitrust laws.

Inez Stepman, an education policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum, said universities conduct themselves like businesses despite their nonprofit status. “Universities are a business, specifically a business heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars,” Ms. Stepman said. “It is long past time for universities to stand on their own two feet.”

The Supreme Court is expected to soon decide whether to hear a case challenging the affirmative action admissions policies of Harvard and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Neither school belongs to the 568 Presidents Group.

In February last year, the Justice Department dropped a racial discrimination lawsuit that the Trump administration brought against Yale, accusing the school of discriminating against White and Asian-American students in its affirmative action policies.

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