The 568 Group is a consortium of American universities and colleges practicing need-blind admissions. The group was founded in 1998 in response to section 568 of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994.
In response to several prestigious colleges and universities holding "Overlap Meetings" to set similar tuition and financial aid levels, the Justice Department began an antitrust investigation in 1989 and in 1991 filed an Sherman Antitrust Act suit against 57 colleges and universities. While the Ivy League institutions settled, MIT contested the charges on the grounds that the practice was not anticompetitive because it prevented bidding wars over promising students from consuming funds for need-based scholarships and ensured the availability of aid for the greatest number of students. MIT ultimately prevailed when the Justice Department settled the case in 1994.
In 1994, Congress passed the Improving America's Schools Act. Section 568 of this Act that expands upon the issues in the MIT settlement. Section 568 states that is not unlawful under the anti-trust laws for two or more need-blind institutions to agree or attempt to agree:
- to award financial aid only on the basis of need;
- to use common principles of analysis for determining need;
- to use a common aid application form; and
- to engage in a one-time exchange of certain pre-award data of commonly admitted financial aid students.
The amendment specifically prohibits the sharing of any information on the amount or terms of any prospective, individual aid award and makes clear that the exemption does not apply to the awarding of federal financial aid.
The following is a list of member institutions, as of 2010:
- "History of the 568 Presidents' Group". 568 Group. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- Johnston, David (August 10, 1989). "Price-Fixing Inquiry at 20 Elite Colleges". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- Chira, Susan (March 13, 1991). "23 College Won't Pool Discal Data". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- DePalma, Anthony (May 23, 1991). "Ivy Universities Deny Price-Fixing But Agree to Avoid It in the Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- DePalma, Anthony (September 2, 1992). "MIT Ruled Guilty in Anti-Trust Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- DePalma, Anthony (June 26, 1992). "Price-Fixing or Charity? Trial of M.I.T. Begins". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- "Settlement allows cooperation on awarding financial-aid". MIT Tech Talk. 1994. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
- Honan, William (December 21, 1993). "MIT Suit Over Aid May Be Settled". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "568 Presidents' Group Member Institutions". 568 Presidents' Group. 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.