University receives letter from DOJ
The University has received a letter from the Department of Justice’s antitrust division regarding an investigation into early decision practices, Director of Media Relations Julie Jette confirmed in an email to the Justice.
The letter was sent out last week to multiple colleges and universities in an effort to determine whether they are violating antitrust laws by exchanging information about early decision applicants. Amherst College, Middlebury College and Tufts University also received this letter, according to an April 11 Boston Globe article.
Colleges and universities that received this letter were asked to preserve all communications with officials at other schools relating to early decision applicants, according to that same article. This includes any agreements that were made to share personal information about applicants, as well as any records that indicate actions were taken as a result of receiving that information.
In the email to the Justice, Jette wrote that the University will comply with the requests made in the letter.
Early decision applicants are required to sign an agreement that stipulates they will only have one early decision application pending at a time, and if admitted, they “definitely will enroll,” per the early decision agreement form available on the Common Application website. If a student applies for, and does not receive, a financial aid package which would allow them to attend the school, they can be released from the agreement. The applicant, their high school counselor and a parent or legal guardian are all required to sign this form.
By sharing information about early decision applicants among each other, institutions of higher education could cancel applications or rescind offers of admission if they determine an applicant has been playing the system by applying to more than one school through the early decision process, according to an April 10 New York Times article. If an applicant breaches the contract, colleges and universities may retaliate by limiting the number of students they will admit from that student’s high school.
Out of the Brandeis class of 2021, 37 percent of enrolled students had been accepted through early decision, though only 6.7 percent of all applicants used this process, per the University’s Common Data Set for the 2017-2018 academic year. The acceptance rate for early decision applicants (40 percent) was also higher than that for regular decision applicants, which was 34 percent.