I’m sure you all saw the news, NACAC has been under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for violations of antitrust laws. This investigation led to suggested deletions of parts of their Code of Ethics. They are purposed to make these changes at the 2019 NACAC meeting. You can read the full report of changes here. While we won’t know if these changes will take place for sure until after the conference, we think it’s better to plan ahead than be caught on the backfoot. What we think these changes boil down to for institutions is how to incentivize and retain students, and how to protect your enrollments going forward.
Recommended deleting: “Colleges must not offer incentives exclusive to students applying or admitted under an Early Decision application plan…”
Out of all the recommended deletions, this one is the easiest to work around. With a few tweaks to the way things are positioned and presented to students, virtual the same incentivizes can be offered. However, it does mean you have to be extremely careful with how you word things because, with things like this, the devil is in the details.
Recommended deleting: “Colleges must not solicit transfer applications from previous year’s applicant or prospect pool unless the students themselves initiate a transfer inquiry…”
Essentially this means schools can now identify past prospects that ended up enrolling at an institution, just not their institution, and continue recruiting them. If institutions participate in this practice, summer melt will not only be a concern for incoming Freshman but for all students all-year-round.
I read a summation of the NACAC changes that postured- just because we can do something, should we? In a vacuum, being able to poach students into transferring seems exciting. You have a longer to tell your story and convince students to attend your institution. The problem is, we aren’t in a vacuum. If everyone starts poaching students, then we’re back at square one. You may have gained students, but you lose some in the process.
Protect Your Enrollments
Recommended deleting: (1) “Once students have committed themselves to a college, other colleges must respect that choice and cease recruiting them…” (2) “Colleges will not knowingly recruit or offer enrollment incentives to students who are already enrolled,
registered, have declared their intent, or submitted contractual deposits to other institutions..”
This change isn’t too far from the world we already know. Double deposited and waitlisted students make enrollment numbers see fluctuation from deposited to admitted. Removing these suggestions from the Code of Ethics will only heighten the risk of summer melt.
Good news! Because this is something you’ve dealt with before, you know how to deal with it again! First, remember to engage students even after they have deposited continuously. Next, assist students who are going through the enrollment process. Lastly, building relationships between your current and incoming students. All these are great ways to protect against summer melt. Just because May 1st has come and gone, it doesn’t mean we stop engaging and having meaningful interactions with students.
How We Can Help
Here at YouVisit, we see these changes to NACAC’s Code of Ethics as both the challenge and an opportunity for schools to tell their stories and differentiate themselves more than ever. Institutions will need to continuously market and build brand awareness to recruit and retain students. These changes will increase competition. This increase in competition makes engagement more important than ever.
This opportunity is where we can support in a HUGE way. Many of you know us for our virtual tour solution. With these changes to the Code of Ethics, virtual tours will become even more essential as schools will be forced to cast an even wider net than before. Our virtual tours drive engagement through interaction because they are powered by Super Content. Super Content is weaving multiple media types into one single asset, transforming traditional photos and videos into immersive and interactive content. Explore the tour below or fill out a contact us form to hear more about how Super Content can help you stand out.