Special Statement

Changes Made to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP)
on September 28, 2019
at the NACAC Conference in Louisville
Impacting WACAC Members

As most of you know, the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) is an affiliate organization of the National Organization for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Part of that affiliate relationship mandates that NACAC’s CEPP is also WACAC’s CEPP.

This is why we wish to inform you of permanent changes to the CEPP that were voted on and approved by the NACAC Assembly on September 28, 2019 at the NACAC Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. These changes were proposed and approved as part of an agreement between NACAC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Anti-Trust Division to end their investigation of NACAC through a consent decree pending approval in court. The following portions of the CEPP were removed and reflect the only areas of the document the DOJ considers restraint of trade. The following changes are effective immediately.

  • Deletion of the section prohibiting offering exclusive incentives for Early Decision applicants
  • Deletion of the section prohibiting recruiting first-year undergraduates who have committed elsewhere
  • Deletion of the section prohibiting recruiting transfer students who have committed and/or matriculated elsewhere

The following proposal was also approved by the NACAC Assembly:

  • A temporary moratorium on enforcement of all remaining parts of the CEPP for up to one year or until the DOJ agreement with NACAC (consent decree) is approved in court

Note that a moratorium on enforcement of the CEPP was also approved by the NACAC Assembly for each of the past two years to facilitate negotiations with the DOJ while NACAC was under investigation.

A related change to the NACAC Bylaws was approved at the NACAC membership meeting. This change empowers the NACAC Board of Directors to make changes to the CEPP without the prior approval of the NACAC Assembly in extraordinary situations such as quickly unfolding, time-sensitive legal matters.

Resolution of the DOJ investigation is as important to WACAC as it is to NACAC. If the investigation were to continue, WACAC and the other affiliates would likely be included and incur unsustainable legal costs. In the next few months we will share with you updates on the progress of the conclusion of the investigation and necessary court approval. You may have questions on what to communicate to your students, your administration, and members of the press who contact you regarding actions you or others may make in light of the CEPP changes. For now, we have provided some great advice from NACAC’s President, Jayne Fonash:

“Take care when addressing the media on the DOJ investigation. If you do speak to the press, please note you are speaking on your own behalf and be careful about sharing specific information regarding how your policies and practices will or will not change following this weekend’s votes.

If you do choose to speak publicly, please seek the guidance of your institution’s leadership, such as your president, head of school, superintendent, or legal counsel. The notion of “restraint of trade” among colleges and universities in their recruitment of students is the key issue for NACAC members to keep in mind when thinking about the DOJ investigation and the subsequent changes to our CEPP. Any understandings or agreements among competitors in the market to abide by voluntary rules, limitations, or procedures may be considered as restraining competition, and be subject to a costly antitrust investigation.

Colleges may make individual decisions whether to abide by the three provisions. But in making their decisions, they should not discuss their intentions or whether they will abide by the provisions with other colleges, and they should not inform other colleges of their decisions. Colleges may notify potential students and applicants whether they abide by one or more of the three provisions.”

WACAC Presidential Team

Lauren Cook, President
Phil Moreno, President-Elect
Marc McGee, Immediate Past-President, Chief Delegate