Opportunities Through Education Marcy Hamilton

Statement of Principles of Good Practice


Approved by the 2010 Assembly

Amended revisions effective for the enrollment cycle of 2009 and 2010 academic year

(refer to the footnotes for the corresponding revisions).


Introduction


Ethical college admission is the cornerstone of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Since its founding in 1937, when a select number of college and university professionals and high-school counselors came together to create a Code of Ethics within the admission-counseling profession, NACAC has striven to ensure principled conduct among professionals in the recruitment of students and the transition to postsecondary education.


This code of conduct is known today as the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).


Historically, NACAC added principles to the SPGP cumulatively, as ethical issues arose each year. In more recent years, however, the application process has become increasingly influenced by marketplace forces that raise new and complex ethical questions. In this rapidly-changing admission landscape, it is imperative for NACAC to maintain a document that includes practices and policies reflecting these new concerns for the ethical treatment of students in the admission process. As the recognized leader in college admission counseling, NACAC willingly carries the responsibility of being the only association that protects students’ rights in the transition to postsecondary education process, through monitoring and enforcing ethical standards and practices.


Member schools, colleges and universities, as well as other institutions, organizations and  individuals dedicated to the pursuit of higher education, believe in the dignity, worth and potential of each and every student. To enable all students to make the dream of higher education a reality, these institutions and individuals develop and provide programs and services in postsecondary counseling, admission and financial aid. They strive to eliminate bias within the education system based on ethnicity, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, national origin, and disability. They understand and value the importance of college

counseling and view it as a fundamental aspect of their job as educators.


They support, therefore, the following Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.


Core Values


Core Values represent statements of the association’s vision and beliefs and are the purview of the Board of Directors.


Professionalism

We believe our work in counseling, admission and enrollment management is professional only to the extent that we subscribe to and practice ethical behavior, as stated in our Member Conventions. We are responsible for the integrity of our actions and, insofar as we can affect them, the actions of our member institutions and organizations.


Collaboration

We believe the effectiveness of our profession, college counseling, admission and enrollment management is enhanced when we work together to promote and protect students and their best interests.


Trust

We believe our profession, college counseling, admission and enrollment management is based upon trust, mutual respect and honesty, with one another and with students.


Education

We believe in and are committed to educating students, their families, the public, fellow education professionals, and ourselves about the transition to and within postsecondary education.


Fairness and Equity

We believe our members have a responsibility to treat one another and students in a fundamentally fair and equitable manner.


Social Responsibility

We believe we have a duty to serve students responsibly, by safeguarding their rights and their access to and within postsecondary education.


Member Conventions


Member conventions represent a set of understandings or agreements to frame our code of ethics. These statements are the purview of the Board of Directors.


All members of NACAC agree to abide by the following:

1. Members will make protecting the best interests of all students a primary concern in the admission process.

2. Members will evaluate students on the basis of their individual qualifications and strive for inclusion of all members of society in the admission process.

3. Members will provide accurate admission and financial aid information to students, empowering all participants in the process to act responsibly.

4. Members will honor students’ decisions regarding where they apply and choose to enroll.

5. Members will be ethical and respectful in their counseling, recruiting and enrollment practices.

6. Members will strive to provide equal access for qualified students through education about financial aid processes and institutional financial aid policies.

7. Members will abide by local, state and federal laws regarding the treatment of students and confidential information.

8. Members will support a common set of admission-related definitions and deadlines.

9. Members will support and enforce the Statement of Principles of Good Practice.



Statement of Principles of Good Practice

Mandatory Practices

(* Refers the reader to Interpretations of Mandatory Practices, pages 6 – 12, for an expanded

clarification)


  1. All Members—Mandatory Practices


A. Promotion and Recruitment

Members agree that they will:

1. accurately represent and promote their schools, institutions, organizations, and services;

2. not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions;

3. not offer or accept any reward or remuneration from a secondary school, college, university, agency, or organization for placement or recruitment of students;

4. be responsible for compliance with applicable laws and regulations with respect to the students’ rights to privacy.

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures

Members agree that they will:

1. not publicly announce the amount of need-based aid awarded to any student without his/her permission;

2. not guarantee admission or specific college placement or make guarantees of any financial aid or scholarship awards prior to an application being submitted, except when pre-existing criteria are stated in official publications;

3. not make unethical or unprofessional requests of other admission counseling professionals;

4. send and receive information about candidates in confidence;

5. consider transcripts official only when transmitted in a confidential manner, from the secondary or postsecondary institution(s) attended by the applicant;

6.1 not use minimum test scores as the sole criterion for admission, advising or for the awarding of financial aid;

7. be responsible for ensuring the accurate representation and promotion of their institutions in recruitment materials, presentations, and scholarship materials;

8. provide, in a timely manner, accurate, legible and complete transcripts for all students for admission or scholarships;

9. counsel students to abide by the application requirements and restrictions when they file;

10. permit pending Early Action, Restrictive Early Action and Early Decision candidates to initiate any Regular or Rolling Decision applications.

II. Postsecondary Members—Mandatory Practices


A. Promotion and Recruitment

Postsecondary members agree that they will:

1. state clearly the requirements for the first-year and transfer admission and  enrollment processes, including secondary school preparation, standardized testing, financial aid, housing and notification deadlines, and refund procedures;

2. not knowingly recruit students who are enrolled, registered, have initiated deferred admission, or have declared their intent, or submitted contractual deposits to other institutions unless the students initiate inquiries themselves or unless cooperation is sought from institutions that provide transfer programs.


B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures

Postsecondary members agree that they will:

1. accept full responsibility for admission and financial aid decisions and for proper notification of those decisions to candidates;

2.2 not require or ask candidates or the secondary schools to indicate the order of the candidates’ college or university preferences, except under Early Decision;

3.3 permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of  admission,

financial aid and scholarships until May 1 and will state this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission;

4. not offer exclusive incentives that provide opportunities for students applying or admitted Early Decision that are not available to students admitted under their admission options;

5. work with their institutions’ senior administrative officers to ensure that financial aid and scholarship offers and housing options are not used to manipulate commitments prior to May 1;

6. establish wait list procedures that ensure that no student on any wait list is asked for a deposit in order to remain on the wait list or for a commitment to enroll prior to receiving an official written offer of admission;

7. state the specific relationship among admission and financial aid practices and policies;

8. notify accepted aid applicants of financial aid decisions before the enrollment confirmation deadline, assuming all requested application forms are received on time;

9. clearly state policies on renewal of financial aid that will typically include a review of students’ current financial circumstances;

10. not knowingly offer financial aid packages to students who are committed to attend other institutions, unless the students initiate such inquiries. Athletic scholarships, which adhere to nationally-established signing periods, are a recognized exception to this provision;

11. initially report on all first-year admitted or enrolled students, including special subgroups in the reporting of test scores. If data on subgroup populations are also provided, clear explanations of who is included in the subgroup population will be made;

12.4 not establish any application deadlines for first-year candidates for fall admission prior to October 15 and will give equal consideration to all applications received by that date;

13.5 not notify first-year candidates for fall admission prior to the receipt of a

transcript that reflects completion of the final semester of the junior year of high

school or the equivalent. Institutions that require only an application prior to

extending an offer of admission, including many community colleges, may accept

students at the time of application.



III. Counseling Members—Mandatory Practices


A. Promotion and Recruitment

Counseling members agree that they will:

1. establish a policy for the release of students’ names and other confidential information consistent with applicable laws and regulations.

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures

Counseling members agree that they will:

1. provide colleges and universities with a description of the school’s marking system that, if available, will provide some indication of grade distribution that may include the rank in class and/or grade point average;

2. provide, as permissible by law, accurate descriptions of the candidates’ personal qualities that are relevant to the admission process;

3. sign only one pending Early Decision or Restricted Early Action agreement, when applicable, for any student;

4. follow, when applicable, the process used by the candidates’ high schools for filing college applications;

5. not reveal, unless authorized, candidates’ college or university preferences;

6. work with school officials and other relevant individuals to keep test results confidential as governed by law and local regulations;

7. report on all students within a distinct class (e.g., freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) and subgroups, including non-native speakers, in the reporting of standardized test scores.





1 Revision approved by 2006 Assembly. Effective for the application cycle resulting in matriculation in the Fall 2009.

2 Revision approved by 2008 Assembly. Effective for the application cycle resulting in matriculation in the Fall 2010.

3 Revision approved by 2008 Assembly. Effective for the application cycle resulting in matriculation in the Fall 2010.

4 Revision approved by 2006 Assembly. Effective for the application cycle resulting in matriculation in the Fall 2009.

5 Revision approved by 2006 Assembly. Effective for the application cycle resulting in matriculation in the Fall 2009.



Full Statement available on request …

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