As we previously reported back in January of 2018, the National Association for College Admission Counseling — an organization to which our managing director is a member and to which our organization has been a member for years — has been under scrutiny by the United States Department of Justice for a little under two years over claims the organization restrains trade. More specifically, certain provisions within NACAC’s “Statement of Principles of Good Practice” caught the eye of Main Justice. These months later, it’s been announced through an email sent out to NACAC’s membership base that the organization is on the verge of complying with the Department of Justice’s misgivings with its “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.” So how exactly will NACAC comply so as not to allegedly restrain trade?
NACAC’s Proposed Changes to Comply with DOJ
As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Admissions Pressure Grows,” “The changes would remove from the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice the following measures: ‘Colleges must not offer incentives exclusive to students applying or admitted under an early decision application plan…College choices should be informed, well-considered, and free from coercion…Once students have committed themselves to a college, other colleges must respect that choice and cease recruiting them…The recognized exceptions are when students are admitted from a wait list, students initiate inquiries themselves, or cooperation is sought by institutions that provide transfer programs. Colleges must not solicit transfer applications from a previous year’s applicant or prospect pool unless the students have themselves initiated a transfer inquiry or the college has verified prior to contacting the students that they are either enrolled at a college that allows transfer recruitment from other colleges or are not currently enrolled in a college.'”
The Independent Educational Consultants Association Restrains Trade
And while we approve of these changes to NACAC’s “Statement of Principles of Good Practice” to comply with the law, there is another college counseling organization — a much less reputable one than NACAC in our belief — whose “Principles of Good Practice” and actions — should concern the United States Department of Justice. That organization is the Independent Educational Consultants Association, an organization in which membership, we firmly believe, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. This organization openly restrains trade in violation of America’s free markets. In fact, when we were members of this organization, they tried to tell us what we could and couldn’t charge. Heck, they sent us threatening letters asserting as much, letters we retain for our records. If that’s not an attempt — albeit a failed attempt — to restrain the trade of an American business, then, well, we don’t know what is. Good for NACAC to comply with the DOJ. But there’s a much smaller, less consequential fish, the IECA, an organization that should expediently comply with federal restraint of trade law as well.
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