The U.S. Department of Justice issued a civil investigative demand against Vassar and 54 other colleges and universities for allegedly fixing tuition and financial aid levels, a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act prohibiting conspiracy to set prices for a commodity—in this case, a college education. 

The demand specifically questioned Vassar’s involvement with the Overlap Group, 23 colleges and universities, including Seven Sisters and Ivy League schools, formed in 1956.  The group met yearly to discuss standardized formulas used to calculate and offer comparable financial aid packages at equally competitive schools, so that accepted students could chose their schools regardless of the offers of financial assistance. 

Vassar sent copies of Overlap meeting minutes and information about associations with which it shared financial aid data to the Department of Justice, and since the investigation was expected to last over a year, Director of Vassar Financial Aid Michael Fraher suggested the group not meet in the coming year.  The investigation took two years, the Overlap Group disbanded and the practice of offering equal financial aid packages among its members went away with it.      The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Miscellany News