Former Yale financial aid recipients to potentially receive settlement money

Yale Daily News

Any Yale student who received need-based financial aid over the past 20 years is eligible to claim a payment from a $284 million settlement, according to a Friday announcement

The fund is composed of settlements from Yale and nine other elite universities in a lawsuit alleging that the consortium of schools was engaging in price-fixing behavior to limit need-based financial aid. Yale settled for $18.5 million in January but denied allegations of wrongdoing. Friday’s message came after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted preliminary approval to the class action settlement. 

“If approved by the Court, the Settlements will provide cash payments to members of the Settlement Class who submit valid and timely claim forms later in the process,” according to the Financial Aid Antitrust Settlement website. “Payments for claims will vary depending on a number of factors. Assuming that about half of the 200,000 Settlement Class members submit timely claims (at a later date), and that the Court awards the attorneys’ fees and costs as requested, the average claimant will receive about $2,000 from these Settlements.”

In its preliminary approval, the court approved a class of students — called the settlement class — who are eligible to receive payments, according to a Friday message.

Any U.S. citizen who attended Yale College and received partial need-based financial aid from the fall of 2003 to the spring of 2024 is a member of the settlement class and is therefore eligible to claim a portion of the $284 million.

Other members of the settlement class include partial need-based financial aid recipients since 2003 at the University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke University, Georgetown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Notre Dame University, Rice University and Vanderbilt University. 

Domestic undergraduates who received partial need-based financial aid from Brown, Dartmouth and Emory University since 2004 are also eligible to receive payments, as are undergraduates who received partial financial aid from California Institute of Technology since 2019, or from Johns Hopkins University since 2021.

Members of the settlement class must “submit a valid and timely claim” in order to get money from the settlement fund, according to Friday’s message. 

The motion has only been approved preliminarily. Should the court issue a formal approval “several months from now,” all settlement class members will receive a claim form to complete, according to the website.

A University spokesperson declined the News’ request for further comment on the situation.

“Yale College’s financial aid offers meet the full financial need of each student, with none of the aid in the form of repayable loans,” a University spokesperson wrote in a statement shared with the News in January. “This settlement contains no admission that Yale did anything wrong but allows the university to avoid the cost and disruption of further litigation and to continue its work in making undergraduate education more affordable for more families.”

The court will hold a “fairness hearing” via phone call in July, wherein it will issue a further decision on this motion.


Molly Reinmann covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Westchester, New York, she is a sophomore in Berkeley College majoring in American Studies.

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