By Christian Loeffler
The future of college recruitment was altered on Sept. 28, 2019, when the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) voted to adjust their Code of Ethics and Professional Practices (CEPP) after pressure from the US Department of Justice, which alleged that NACAC “enforced illegal restrains on the ways colleges compete in the recruiting of students.”
“While trade associations and standards-setting organizations can and often do promote rules and standards that benefit the market as a whole, they cannot do so at the cost of competition,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a DOJ press release. “Today’s settlement is a victory for all college applicants and students across the United States who will benefit from vigorous competition among colleges for their enrollment.”
In addition to modifying the contentious provisions, NACAC issued a response stating that the organization “continues to believe that the now deleted provisions provided substantial aid and protection to students in their process of choosing and moving from high school to college.”
One of these provisions stated that colleges “must not offer incentives exclusive to students applying or admitted under an early decision application plan.” The removal of this provision now makes it possible for colleges to offer students “special housing, enhanced financial aid packages, and special scholarships.”
“Today’s settlement is a victory for all college applicants and students across the United States who will benefit from vigorous competition among colleges for their enrollment.” - Makan Delrahim
Another removed provision stated that “once students have committed themselves to a college, other colleges must respect that choice and cease recruiting them.” Now, colleges can attempt to recruit students even after they have made a decision on where to attend.
Similar in nature, a separate provision stated that colleges “must not solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant or prospect pool unless the students have themselves initiated a transfer inquiry." This means that now, students may be recruited even while they are already in a college.
The final removed provision stated that “May 1 is the point at which commitments to enroll become final,” with minor exceptions such as waitlisted students.
More changes may be on the way.
Last week, NACAC president Jayne Caflin Fonash stated in a letter posted on the NACAC website that there are plans to change the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices from a mandatory code to a “statement of best practices.” While there is a recast of CEPP documentation occurring, the change entails that most of the policy rules will now become non-mandatory guidelines, resulting in an even more versatile transition from high school to college.
William Barnes, Assistant Dean of Admission, explained that NACAC has ties to most Admissions offices for both high schools and colleges.
According to Barnes, “it really allows high schools and colleges to collaborate,” in order to facilitate the transition into college for incoming students.
Barnes stated that the changes proposed for the CEPP will likely have an impact on Saint Vincent College in the future, but that the school is currently in a “wait and see mode.” Some other colleges may take advantage of these new policies before the next academic year, but according to Barnes, colleges typically already have marketing planned well in advanced and trends will not likely be seen until the upcoming academic year.
"For the student - I think that [early admission incentive allowance] is a bad thing, because the student is sort of locked into going to that college or they're going to be biased towards that college because they are getting more incentives to go there,” said Ian Tracey, biology junior who has read-up on changes to the CEPP.
Tracey did state that the change could be a good thing for a college trying to get more students, however. Regarding the change to post-acceptance recruitment, Tracey explained that he thinks the policy is bad for the student since they already made a decision after spending time weighing options.
“I think it's not fair for the students who applied to that [first] school and already have been accepted, because the students who [the second school] are trying to lure over are probably going to get a better deal,” he stated.
He also said that the removal of the May 1 admission deadline does not seem very important.
Tracey stated that the change will likely be minimal, permitting that students apply to college in a bell curve, where only a few “stragglers” are really affected by a more flexible admission timeline. He did note that it could be beneficial to students who are indecisive about which college to attend and need another week or month to decide, however.
Overall, Tracey was dissatisfied with the changes proposed by the NACAC in regards to what is “best for the student.”
“There should be mandatory scheduled meetings with the Career Center [in which] every student has to go the Career Center, have a meeting with an advisor, and then just talk about future career things.” - Ian Tracey
Tracey suggested that undergraduate colleges should be more standardized and comparable to high schools in certain regards. He also noted that the application process from high school to undergraduate college “should be a lot easier.”
Tracey also explained that in high school, many students are not really what they want to do with their lives.
“You're sort of just all potential,” he said. “The period of uncertainty - that's going to be in [undergraduate] college.”
Tracey suggested a different type of policy that he would like to see in undergraduate schools and Saint Vincent College, specifically.
“During the [freshman] orientation […] there should be a lot more focus on what's going to happen after college,” Tracey stated.
He explained that most students do not have any real incentive to stop by the Career Center until around junior year.
“There should be mandatory scheduled meetings with the Career Center [in which] every student has to go the Career Center, have a meeting with an advisor, and then just talk about future career things,” he explained.