NACAC and the DOJ—why these two entities have been on my mind lately.

In late September, I had the pleasure and good fortune to attend NACACs national conference in Louisville, KY. Nearly 7000 high school college counselors, college/university enrollment management officers, consulting partners and independent school counselors attended the annual event. There was heightened anticipation for this year’s conference given the DOJ investigation into NACACs code of ethics. Specifically, association members would be voting on Saturday, 9/28 to remove certain provisions from NACACs Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP). The membership meeting was rather full as everyone waited with bated breath—the result—a 211 to 3 vote by the delegates to remove the provisions. As one might imagine the news spread via social media channels with journalists and pundits alike.

What does this mean?

Prior to the vote on 9/28/19:

  • Association members could not offer incentives exclusive to students applying under an early decision application.
  • Once a student committed to a college, other colleges would respect that choice and no longer “recruit” the student.
  • A college would not knowingly “recruit” or offer incentives to students who are enrolled or registered to enroll at another institution.
  • Colleges must not solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant pool unless the student initiated the inquiry.

After the vote on 9/28/19:

  • Association members can offer incentives exclusive to students applying under an early decision application.
  • Colleges can continue to “recruit” students even in the event they know a student has committed to another institution.
  • Colleges can now solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant pool.

What does this really mean?

Perhaps nothing, but rest assured there will be disruption in the industry. In my humble opinion, I think we can anticipate the following:

  • An increased emphasis on colleges to minimize summer melt;
  • Colleges, if not already, will build-out a “transfer-friendly” enrollment process;
  • For colleges with excess capacity, it will put downward pressure on discount rates and net tuition revenue;
  • Currently enrolled “at-risk” or “high-risk” students can anticipate more interventions and proactive guidance to help ensure their success.

Otherwise, this now makes what is already a highly competitive market even more so going forward.

As vice president for strategy and enrollment, Chris Gage serves to guide the institutional enrollment objectives and strategic plan in consultation with all stakeholders. Gage is an experienced enrollment professional with progressive leadership responsibilities at Hanover College.