The Catholic University of America

NACUA Notes     National Association of College and University Attorneys                      February 11, 2015 | Vol. 13 No. 3

 

ANTITRUST ISSUES AFFECTING COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

Jennifer Zimbroff, Stanford University

Sankar Suryanarayan, Princeton University

Thane D. Scott, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

INTRODUCTION:

 

U.S. antitrust laws are intended to promote maximum competition in a business environment.  

The policy objective is to provide consumers with the benefits of competition-lower prices, greater choices, more innovation, and higher quality goods and services.  Because these laws are tailored to the needs of the commercial marketplace, they often fit awkwardly into the world of nonprofit educational organizations.  Nevertheless, there has been a surprising amount of enforcement activity and private antitrust litigation involving colleges and universities, and this trend will likely increase.  Senator Sherman (whose eponymous legislation is the cornerstone of this country's antitrust laws) famously scoffed at the prospect of applying the Sherman Antitrust Act to schools, but courts and enforcers have taken a more aggressive tack in the modern era.  This Note highlights the many circumstances in which antitrust issues can arise for colleges and universities, and it seeks to provide situation-specific, practical guidance on antitrust risk assessment and risk minimization. 

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