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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

NACAC Agrees to Change Its Code of Ethics

Scott Jaschik
Originally published September 30-, 2019

When the Assembly of the National Association for College Admission Counseling has in years past debated measures to regulate the recruiting of international students or the proper rules for waiting lists and many other issues, debate has been heated. It was anything but heated this year, although the issue before the delegates was arguably more important than any of those.

Delegates voted Saturday -- 211 to 3 -- to strip provisions from the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice that may violate antitrust laws. The provisions are:

  • Colleges must not offer incentives exclusive to students applying or admitted under an early decision application plan. Examples of incentives include the promise of special housing, enhanced financial aid packages, and special scholarships for early decision admits. Colleges may, however, disclose how admission rates for early decision differ from those for other admission plans."
  • College choices should be informed, well-considered, and free from coercion. Students require a reasonable amount of time to identify their college choices; complete applications for admission, financial aid, and scholarships; and decide which offer of admission to accept. Once students have committed themselves to a college, other colleges must respect that choice and cease recruiting them."
  • Colleges will not knowingly recruit or offer enrollment incentives to students who are already enrolled, registered, have declared their intent, or submitted contractual deposits to other institutions. May 1 is the point at which commitments to enroll become final, and colleges must respect that. The recognized exceptions are when students are admitted from a wait list, students initiate inquiries themselves, or cooperation is sought by institutions that provide transfer programs."
  • Colleges must not solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant or prospect pool unless the students have themselves initiated a transfer inquiry or the college has verified prior to contacting the students that they are either enrolled at a college that allows transfer recruitment from other colleges or are not currently enrolled in a college."

Before they approved the measure to strip the provisions, the delegates approved (unanimously) rules that would limit discussion, but they didn't need the rules. There was no discussion on stripping the provisions, which most NACAC members learned of only at the beginning of the month. The Justice Department has been investigating NACAC for possible violations of antitrust laws for nearly two years, but the details of that investigation have not been generally known for most of that time. The Justice Department believes that with these rules, colleges are colluding to take away student choices.

The info is here.