At the national conference this week in Louisville, Kentucky, the NACAC membership will most likely approve changes to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice in response to the ongoing antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice.
The changes would remove from the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice the following measures:
- “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.”
When the dust settles on this issue, what impact will this decision have on students, high school counselors and college admission offices?
At this stage, all we can do is speculate. Many have offered their opinion, including vivid descriptions of a wild, wild, west scenario of competition developing between colleges or as much as a full year of tuition being required as a deposit.
At Lewis University, we pledge to continue to practice professional and ethical behavior throughout the admission process. We have, and always will, put the best interests of students first. Whether or not guidelines are included in the Code of Ethics, we believe that no one benefits when undue pressure or sales tactics are utilized in the admission process. We are confident in the first-class education and experiences we provide to our students at Lewis and that we do not need, nor will we ever attempt, to poach students away from other colleges they have already committed to attend. Some might say I am being naïve, but I believe that the overwhelming majority of the schools across the country will behave similarly.
We all work in a great profession, surrounded by great people, who commit their lives to serving students. I cannot think of a better life vocation.