As the United States Justice Department investigates the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC’s) “Statement of Principles and Good Practice” for potentially restraining trade in violation of America’s free market system, a number of folks have come to NACAC’s defense. Willard Dix, a columnist on college admissions for “Forbes” believes the DOJ’s investigation into NACAC to be puzzling. We disagree with Mr. Dix. It should be noted that Ivy Coach is a member in good standing of NACAC but we do not support any policy of any organization that potentially violates U.S. law — and we will not be shy to speak out against such policies. We have argued for many years that the Independent Educational Consultants Association, an organization we have long asserted is inferior to NACAC and whose membership we believe isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, restrains trade. So it is not puzzling to us that the DOJ would investigate similar policies at a more well regarded and more well known organization.
Critics of the DOJ’s Investigation into NACAC
A puzzled Dix doesn’t seem to appreciate why the DOJ would investigate NACAC for potentially restraining trade. As Dix writes in a piece for “Forbes” entitled “Justice Department’s Review Of College Admission Association’s New Standards Is Puzzling,” “Apparently, the Justice Department has nothing better to do these days than turn its sights on the new set of guidelines and rules recently approved by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). It’s the document that governs members’ behavior regarding treatment of students, the imposition of deadlines, pressuring students to accept offers and many other more esoteric aspects of the admission process. The new version streamlined the older one which was more like a jungle of dos, don’ts and perhaps nots than a clear guide for ethical behavior…My best explanation for the DOJ’s effort here is that it’s of a piece with the current administration’s attacks on higher education in general. Its distrust of science, its conviction that colleges are hotbeds of anti-conservatism and free thought and its general hostility to facts and reasoned debate must make it suspicious of anything that brings colleges and universities together with high school counselors as they smooth the way to college for their students. Just one more way to put ‘liberal’ colleges and universities on notice.”
In Support of Free Market Principles
Our response to Dix’s words? Nonsense. The Department of Justice has every right to investigate any organization that attempts, in any way, to restrain trade in America. It is not an attack on ‘liberal’ colleges. It is not an attack on ‘hotbeds of anti-conservatism.’ It is our government standing up for American businesses and their distinctly American right to conduct business in a free market society. No organization — not NACAC, not the lowly IECA, not anyone — has the right to violate America’s free market system. To blame this on a United States Department of Justice hellbent on attacking liberals is easy and tired. Regular readers of our college admissions blog happen to know that we’re quite liberal (we’re New Yorkers!) and we’re not shy to criticize our Justice Department for, say, their investigation into Harvard’s admissions practices. But, Mr. Dix, do not mistake being liberal with being anti-capitalist. Our nation is built on a foundation of capitalism. It is the bedrock of the land of the free.
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