Admissions association says it must pull measures from ethics code to avoid Justice Department action

Sep 3, 2019 by

NACAC says it needs to remove several measures from its code of conduct to avoid a Justice Department suit. What do the provisions do? Arguably they protect students.

By Scott Jaschik –

Colleges may soon face more competition for students if the National Association for College Admission Counseling agrees — under pressure from the federal government — to withdraw several rules from its code of conduct.

The association informed members of the proposed changes late last week. The changes are being proposed because the Justice Department, which has investigated NACAC for possible violations of antitrust laws, objects to them. While NACAC is not saying that it believes the provisions were wrong, it is saying that failure to approve the changes at the association’s annual meeting this month in Louisville, Ky., could harm the association. The government appears to be asserting that the targeted rules — which prohibit colleges from offering money and other incentives to students at various points in the admissions process, and discourage colleges’ attempts to woo students who have committed to attend other institutions — hurt students by limiting their choices.

“Approving these measures is in the best interest of NACAC and its members and an essential step to help bring closure to a two-year, ongoing investigation by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The department has indicated that it is likely to seek a ‘consent decree’ — a formal agreement, approved by a federal judge, that would compel NACAC, under a court order, to delete three provisions from the [ethics code],” said the letter.

“The changes being proposed at the national conference are intended to advance a good-faith compromise with the department and to mitigate the potential impact of other actions the department might take. Failure to make these changes — and prolonging the DOJ investigation — would have serious negative consequences for NACAC’s finances and ability to operate, including the possibility of extremely costly and time-consuming litigation and, potentially, even more burdensome requirements mandated by federal authorities.”

Source: Admissions association says it must pull measures from ethics code to avoid Justice Department action

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