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United States v. Brown University

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
5 F.3d 658 (3d Cir. 1993)


The Ivy Overlap Group was formed in 1958 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (defendant) and eight Ivy League schools to coordinate financial aid for students who were admitted to more than one of the schools in the group. Members agreed to award financial aid only on the basis of need and to use a standard methodology for calculating need. Additionally, the members met once a year to resolve discrepancies and to set the amount of aid given to commonly admitted students. The United States (plaintiff) sued MIT, Brown University, and the other Ivy Overlap Group schools (defendants), alleging violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act and seeking injunctive relief. All of the Ivy Overlap Group schools settled, except for MIT. At trial, the district court found that the Ivy Overlap Group’s conduct constituted price fixing. However, due to the Ivy Overlap Group schools’ nonprofit and educational nature, the district court declined to apply the per se rule. Instead, the district court performed an abbreviated quick-look analysis. MIT appealed, arguing that the district court erred (1) in finding that financial aid constituted commercial activity within the meaning of the Sherman Act and (2) by applying the abbreviated quick-look analysis rather than a full-scale rule-of-reason analysis.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cowen, J.)

Dissent (Weis, J.)

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