The Department of Justice believed that by restricting schools’ ability to recruit students after May 1st, students might be missing out on opportunities to access education at lower costs because they are in higher demand to more colleges.
This resulted in a major change to the NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. This change was made at the 2019 National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) National Conference.
The Three Changes
These changes allow colleges to now do the following:
- Offer incentives, like larger financial aid packages or priority housing, to applicants who applied under the early decision program.
- Recruit a student once they have submitted a deposit to another institution.
- Convince previous applicants or prospects to transfer to their school without the student first inquiring about transferring.
These changes completely alter the rules of competition among colleges. The calendar and deadlines that college admissions counselors and students have been following for years will change drastically. Recruiting could carry on into the late summer with students weighing offers from different institutions to determine the best option.
- Recruiting students already consumes a large portion of many schools’ budgets. Now with recruitment allowed late into the summer, will the costs of recruiting further increase? Will that cost affect the tuition prices for students?
- Several U.S. public universities are beginning to admit fewer in-state students than ever before. Bringing in out-of-state and international students is often beneficial for colleges due to the funding they bring to the institution from the higher tuition costs and out-of-state fees.
- Since schools can now recruit students past May 1st and offer competitive financial packages to capture the interest of students, we might see schools increase the amount of their enrollment deposits.
What Does This Look Like?
Now that students are allowed to be recruited at the last minute by competing institutions, small colleges might suffer. Smaller, private colleges do not have the same luxuries and funds to recruit students as the larger, publicly-funded schools. These fluctuating numbers of last-minute decisions will greatly affect the financial security and guaranteed tuition for smaller institutions.
Here are a few possible outcomes:
- The competition will become more fierce and less fair from varying institutions.
- The ability to predict the size of incoming freshmen classes will become even harder.
- Tuition-dependent institutions might close their doors at faster rates if they have trouble holding onto their students.
What Won’t Change
- May 1st is the standard deadline day by which students must send in their deposit to their university of choice and that will likely not change.
- Students will have ample opportunity to consider their financial aid packages before making their choice.
- College Deposits will remain non-refundable.