Martin Kurzweil and Josh Wyner, in a Times opinion piece decrying the decades-long drift toward “merit” aid (i.e., not based on need) in U.S. higher ed:
Some leaders of colleges have wanted to end this competition by collaborating with other colleges to reserve the vast majority of aid to students who clearly have the need. But these leaders haven’t so far because they fear it would run afoul of federal antitrust law.
We have the discipline of economics to thank for the antitrust orthodoxy of the last 50 years—that consumer prices are the one and only yardstick. This myopic, self-undermining approach—in the name of consumer welfare—has led to all kinds of perverse outcomes. In higher ed, there’s this boost to merit-aid, and, more recently, the gutting of admissions officers’ anti-poaching ethics code.