If only these colleges could talk

Private college leaders want to collaborate more closely on issues of access and affordability—but federal antitrust laws prevent institutions from even having discussion about them.

“They can’t discuss price or principles of financial aid,” says Sarah Flanagan, VP of government relations and policy development at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), which has lobbied Congress to provide an exemption.

This five-year exemption would give private schools a fairer chance to adapt to the changing higher ed market.  

“Many would like to do something different with their market structures, as some colleges would like to direct aid more toward need than merit,” says Flanagan. ”They would like to discuss that collectively.”

The exemption would allow any public or private institution to explore taxpayer investment versus degree attainment, says Flanagan.

It is difficult to know which programs are the most successful unless they can be compared and analyzed under the same set of standards. “With this exemption,” says Flanagan, “private institutions can share what they offer in the current higher ed landscape, and learn from successful business models.”


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