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Principles of Good Practice

 

As Christians, we are called to serve Christ and His church. Christ’s example of servanthood establishes a model that we should seek to achieve as Christians and as members of NACCAP. Accordingly, all of our admissions activities should be characterized by integrity, honesty, and fairness as we deal with students, parents, and others.

Our mission as an organization is to mobilize NACCAP members to promote enrollment at Christ-centered colleges and universities.

• We seek to further the Kingdom of God in obedience to the Lordship of Christ.

• We recognize that each school has individual and unique strengths and therefore, collectively, we serve the Body of Christ.

• As servants, we must enable the student to discern accurately his or her educational needs.

In promoting our institutions to prospective students, we must seek to uphold our common bond in Jesus Christ. NACCAP member institutions are dedicated to the promotion of the integration of faith and learning. We will cooperate in the development of programs and services in post-secondary counseling, admission, and financial aid to eliminate bias related to ethnicity, creed, gender, age, political affiliation, national origin and disabling conditions. We understand and value the importance of counseling and view it as a fundamental aspect of our jobs as educators.

This statement has two sections. The first, Mandatory Practices, consists of principles that all member institutions are expected to follow to the extent that they are applicable to the specific institutional category. (For example, certain admission or financial aid policies may differ for undergraduate institutions as compared to seminaries. In rare situations where the standard modus operandi is different for a particular institutional category, these principles need to be tempered by common sense, discernment, and concern for the membership as a whole.) Mandatory practices are prefaced by "Members agree that they will…” To provide clarity and examples, this section is followed by Interpretations of many of these practices.

The second section, Best Practices, consists of principles that are not mandatory, and not subject to discipline of the organization. They are, however, principles toward which NACCAP members should aspire to the extent possible (given institutional financial constraints and administrative policy, mandates, or expectations). This is not license to disregard the principles of good practice. If anything, it is a call to a higher standard while recognizing the diversity of our membership and a rapidly changing admission landscape that raises new and complex ethical issues. We aspire to the best practices in our profession. Best practices are prefaced by "All members should…”

Member Conventions

All members of NACCAP agree to abide by the following:

1. Members will make protecting the interests of all students a primary concern in the admission process.
2. Members will evaluate students on the basis of their individual qualifications.
3. Members will provide accurate admission and financial aid information to students, empowering all participants in the process to act responsibly.
4. Members will honor students’ decisions regarding where they apply and choose to enroll.
5. Members will be ethical and respectful in their counseling, recruiting and enrollment practices.
6. Members will strive to provide equal access for qualified students through education about financial aid processes and institutional financial aid policies.
7. Members will abide by local, state and federal laws regarding the treatment of students and confidential information.
8. Members will support a common set of admission-related definitions and deadlines.
9. Members will support and enforce the Statement of Principles of Good Practice.

Statement of Principles of Good Practice – Mandatory Practices

I. All Members—Mandatory Practices
A. Promotion and Recruitment - Members agree that they will:
1. accurately represent and promote their schools, institutions, organizations, and services;
2. not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or post-secondary institutions;
3. not offer or accept any reward or remuneration from a secondary school, college, university, agency, or
organization for placement or recruitment of students;
4. be responsible for compliance with applicable laws and regulations with respect to the students’ rights to privacy.

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures - Members agree that they will:
1. not publicly announce the amount of need-based aid awarded to any student without his/her permission;
2. not guarantee admission or specific college placement or make guarantees of any financial aid or
scholarship awards prior to an application being submitted, except when pre-existing criteria are stated in official publications;
3. not make unethical or unprofessional requests of other admission counseling professionals;
4. send and receive information about candidates in confidence;
5. consider transcripts official only when transmitted in a confidential manner, from the secondary or post secondary institution(s) attended by the applicant;
6. not use minimum test scores as the sole criterion for admission, advising or for the awarding of financial aid;
7. be responsible for ensuring the accurate representation and promotion of their institutions in recruitment materials,presentations, and scholarship materials;
8. provide, in a timely manner, accurate, legible and complete transcripts for transfer students for admission or scholarships;
9. counsel students to abide by the application requirements and restrictions when they file;

10. permit pending Early Action, Restrictive Early Action and Early Decision candidates to initiate any Regular
or Rolling Decision applications.

II. Post secondary Members—Mandatory Practices
A. Promotion and Recruitment - Post-secondary members agree that they will:
1. state clearly the requirements for the first-year and transfer admission and enrollment processes, including secondary school preparation, standardized testing, financial aid, housing and notification deadlines, and refund procedures;
2. not knowingly recruit students who are enrolled, registered, have initiated deferred admission, or have declared their intent,or submitted contractual deposits to other institutions unless the students initial inquiries themselves or unless cooperation is sought from institutions that provide transfer programs.

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures - Post-secondary members agree that they will:
1. accept full responsibility for admission and financial aid decisions and for proper notification of those decisions to candidates;
2. not require candidates or the secondary schools to indicate the order of the candidates’ college or university preferences,except under Early Decision plans;
3. permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose, without penalty, among offers of admission and financial aid until May 1. (Candidates admitted under an Early Decision program are a recognized exception to this provision);
4. not offer exclusive incentives that provide opportunities for students applying or admitted Early Decision that are not available to students admitted under other admission options;
5. work with their institutions’ senior administrative officers to ensure that financial aid, scholarship offers & housing options are not used to manipulate commitments prior to May 1;
6. establish wait list procedures that ensure that no student on any wait list is asked for a deposit in order to remain on the wait list or for a commitment to enroll prior to receiving an official written offer of admission
7. state the specific relationship among admission and financial aid practices and policies;
8. notify accepted aid applicants of financial aid decisions before the enrollment confirmation deadline, assuming all requested application forms are received on time;
9. clearly state policies on renewal of financial aid that will typically include a review of students’ current financial circumstances;
10. not knowingly offer financial aid packages to students who are committed to attend other institutions, unless the students initiate such inquiries. Athletic scholarships, which adhere to nationally-established signing periods, are a recognized exception to this provision;
11. initially report on all first-year admitted or enrolled students, including special subgroups in the reporting on test scores. If data on subgroup populations are also provided, clear explanations of who is included in the subgroup population will be made;
12. not establish any application deadlines for first-year candidates for fall admission prior to October 15 and will give equal consideration to all applications received by that date;
13. not notify first-year candidates for fall admission prior to the receipt of a transcript that reflects completion of the final semester of the junior year of high school or the equivalent. Institutions that require only an application prior to extending an offer of admission may accept students at the time of application.

III. Counseling Members—Mandatory Practices
A. Promotion and Recruitment - Counseling members agree that they will:
1. establish a policy for the release of students’ names and other confidential information consistent with applicable laws and regulations

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures - Counseling members agree that they will:
1. provide colleges and universities with a description of the school’s marking system that, if available, will provide some indication of grade distribution that may include the rank in class and/or grade point average;
2. provide, as permissible by law, accurate descriptions of the candidates’ personal qualities that are relevant to the admissions process;
3. sign only one pending Early Decision or restricted Early Action agreement, when applicable, for any student;
4. follow, when applicable, the process used by the candidates’ high schools for filing college applications;
5. not reveal, unless authorized, candidates’ college or university preferences;
6. work with school officials and other relevant individuals to keep test results confidential as governed by law and local regulations;
7. report on all students within a distinct class (e.g., freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) and subgroups, including nonnative speakers, in the reporting of standardized test scores.

Interpretations of Mandatory Practices

I. All Member - Interpretations
A. Promotion and Recruitment
1. Accurately represent and promote their schools, institutions or services by:

a. providing precise information about their academic majors and degree programs, including factual and accurate descriptions of majors, minors, concentrations and/or interdisciplinary offerings that apply toward the completion of the degree/program;

b. describing in detail any special programs, including overseas study, credit by examination or advanced placement.

2. Not use disparaging comparisons of secondary or post secondary institutions:

a. Members will refrain from publicly disseminating biased, unflattering, and/or potentially inaccurate information about secondary or post secondary institutions, their admission criteria, and/or their curricular offerings.

3. Not offer or accept any reward or remuneration from a college, university, agency, or organization for placement of recruitment of students. Members:

a. will be compensated in the form of a fixed salary, rather than commissions or bonuses based on the number of students recruited

b. will not contract with secondary school personnel for remunerations for referred students.

4. Be responsible for compliance with applicable laws and regulations with respect to the students’ rights to privacy by:

a. establishing policies with respect to secondary school and college/university representatives for the release of students’ names. Any policy that authorizes the release of students’ names should indicate that the release be made only with the students’ permission and be consistent with applicable law and regulations;

b. recognizing that permission may take the form of a general consent to release of the students’ names;

c. abiding by regulations in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA), when applicable. Local school events,

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures
1. Not publicly announce the amount of need-based aid awarded to any student without his/her permission;

a. Members must take great care in publishing or posting the scholarship amounts of individual students when doing so may inadvertently reveal information about need-based awards.

2. (No Interpretations)
3. Not make unethical or unprofessional requests of other admission counseling professionals. Examples could include:

a. making disparaging remarks about the services of school-based counselors or independent counselors when responding to requests from parents or students;

b. independent counselors contacting school officials directly, instead of working through their clients for academic or personal information;

c. coercing or demeaning post secondary institutional representatives if such institutions are unable to participate or attend

d. offering favors in return for counselors' listing of their best or strongest students for recruitment purposes

e. creating an expectation of entitlement with regard to admission to specific institutions.

4. Send and receive information in confidence by honoring all applicable laws and regulations with respect to the confidential nature of such data. Members will honor applicable school policies, laws, and regulations including FERPA. Examples include:

a. admission officers not revealing the admission or denial status of applicants when using Web site or group email announcements;

b. secondary school personnel not posting lists of admitted students to specific colleges when doing so reveals applicants who were denied admission.

5. Consider transcripts official only when transmitted in a confidential manner, from the secondary or post secondary institution(s) attended by the applicant;

a. The receiving institution will have full discretion in determining preferred and/or acceptable methods of transmission.

6. Not use minimum test scores as the sole criterion for admissions, advising or for the awarding of financial aid;

a. Financial aid is defined as grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. This practice does not apply to scholarship and financial aid programs that fall under state mandates.

7. (No Interpretations)
8. (No Interpretations)
9. Counsel students to abide by the application requirements and restrictions when they file.

a. The use of multiple admission plans by colleges/universities often results in confusion among students, parents and counseling professionals. Institutions should clearly state policies, and counselors are advised to assist students with their understanding of the various admission decision options. NACCAP members should use the commonly understood definitions of these non-restrictive application plans:

NACCAP members should also use commonly understood definitions of these restrictive application plans:

• Early Decision

• Restrictive Early Actions

• Early Action

• Regular Decision

• Rolling Admission

II. Post-secondary Members – Interpretations
A. Promotion and Recruitment
1. State clearly the requirements for first-year and transfer admission and enrollment processes, including secondary school preparation, standardized testing, financial aid, housing and notification deadlines, and refund procedures by

a. being responsible for the accurate representation and promotion of their admission processes and calendar and other campus information

b. being responsible for the development of publications, written and electronic communications, presentations for students, parents, and counseling personnel that provide accurate and comprehensive information.

c. identifying the source and year of study when institutional publications and/or media communications cite published academic programs, academic rigor or reputations, or athletic rankings

d. providing accurate and specific descriptions of any special programs or support services for students with handicapping, physical and/or learning disabilities and/or other special needs;

e. clearly publicizing policies relating to placement. awarding of credit and other policies based on test results.

2. (No Interpretations)

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures
1. (Nothing)
2. Not require or ask candidates or the secondary schools to indicate the order of the candidates’ college/university preferences, except under Early Decision

a. Post-secondary members can assess the students’ level of interest, but not through any type of rank order or question about first choice.

3. Permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admission, financial aid, and scholarships until May 1 (Candidates admitted under an Early Decision program are a recognized exception to this practice.)

a. State this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission.

b. It is understood that May 1 will be viewed as the postmark date (submission date for electronic submissions). When May 1falls on a Sunday or holiday, May 2 becomes the recognized date.

c. Offers of admission must clearly state whether deposits voluntarily submitted prior to May 1 are refundable or nonrefundable.

d. Colleges will neither retract nor adversely alter their offers of admission and/or financial aid prior to May 1 for candidates who choose to not reply until that date; neither will they state or imply that candidates might incur a penalty by waiting until May 1 to submit an enrollment deposit.

4. Not offer exclusive incentives that provide opportunities for Early Decision applicants that are not available to students admitted under other admission options.

a. Examples of exclusive incentives include special housing for ED admits; honors programs only for ED admits; full, needs-based financial aid packages for ED admits only; special scholarships for ED admits only; or any promise of an advantage in the admission process if a student converts from Regular Admission to ED

5. (No Interpretation)
6. Establish wait list procedures that ensure that no student on any wait list is asked for a deposit in order to remain on the wait list or for a commitment to enroll prior to receiving an official written offer of admission.

a. Wait list is an admission decision option utilized by institution to protect against shortfalls in enrollment, in light of fluctuations in yields. By placing a student on the wait list, an institution does not initially offer or deny admission, but extends to the candidate the possibility of admission not later than August 1

7. State the specific relationship among admission and financial aid practices and policies

a. Colleges/universities may apply enrollment strategies to decisions to admit, wait list or deny students on the basis of stated or unstated financial need.

Examples include:

• colleges that might prioritize wait lists by students’ level of financial need

• institutions that employ "need aware” admission for the bottom 10% of the class.

8. (No Interpretation
9. (No Interpretation)
10. Not knowingly offer financial aid packages to students who are committed to attend other institutions, unless the students initiate such inquiries. Athletic scholarships, which adhere to nationally-established signing periods, are a recognized exception.

a. The NCAA has established bylaws, operational manuals and legislative directives guiding Division I, II and III sports for men and women. Each NCAA division has its own set of rules and bylaws, and rules committees set rules for specific sports, with calendars regulating quiet periods, dead periods, evaluation periods, contact periods, and eventually, National Letter of Intent signing dates (November, February and April). All such dates are in advance of May 1, the National Candidates Reply Date for admission.

11. Initially report on all first-year admitted or enrolled students, including special subgroups in the reporting of test scores. If date on subgroup populations are also provided, clear explanations of who is included in the subgroup population will be made.

a. Post-secondary members will furnish data describing the currently enrolled freshman class and will describe in published profiles all members of the enrolling freshman class;

b. Subgroups within the profile may be presented separately because of their unique character or special circumstances.

12. Not establish any application deadlines for first0year candidates for fall admission prior to October 15 and will give equal consideration to all applications received by that date:

a. Colleges and universities may welcome the initiation of applications from first-year students prior to the notification date and earliest application deadlines. The Earliest Application Deadline does not apply to juniors who have completed their requirements for high school graduation and are seeking early admission or joint opportunities to attend high school and community or post-secondary institutions. Admission officers should advise secondary school counselors of their policies tonsure compliance.

13. (No Interpretation)

III. Counseling Members – Interpretations
A. Promotion and Recruitment
1. Establish a policy for the release of students’ names and other confidential information, consistent with applicable laws and regulations.

a. Permission may be a general consent to any release of students’ names;

b. Secondary school members should be sensitive to the students’ academic, athletic or other abilities when releasing students’ names.

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures

1. Provide colleges/universities with a description of the school’s marking system that, if available, will provide some indication of grade distribution that may include the rank in class and/or grade point average

a. Members will disclose and clearly explain any type of weighting system that is used in determining class rank, grade point average, and/or individual grades.

2. Provide, as permissible by law, accurate descriptions of the candidates’ personal qualities that are relevant to the admission process.

a. The phrase "permissible by law” includes school policies as well as state or local regulations governing the release of student information.

b. Counselors or school personnel will provide as much information as permitted by FERPA and/or applicable school, local or state policies with the understanding that permissions may take the form of a general consent to any release of student information.

3. (No Interpretation)
4. (No Interpretation)
5. (No Interpretation)
6. Work with school officials and other relevant individuals to keep test results confidential as governed by law and local regulations.

a. School personnel should recognize that individual test scores are the property of the student and should not be revealed for any purpose without prior permission.

b. If individual test score information is requested or required by a post-secondary institution or third party, counselors and school personnel will honor the FERPA and/or applicable school, local or state policies and regulations. Permission may take the form of a general consent to any release of student information.

Statement of Good Practice – Best Practices

I. All Members—Best Practices - All members should:
• indicate that their institution is a NACCAP member and has endorsed the principles contained in the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP);
• inform those involved in counseling students in the post-secondary process about the content of the SPGP;
• be sensitive to students applying for admission to post-secondary institutions in other countries that may have different deadlines and timelines than those in the United States.

 

II. Post-secondary Members—Best Practices
A. Promotion and Recruitment - All post-secondary members should:
1. exercise appropriate responsibility for all people whom the institution involves in admission, promotional and recruitment activities (including alumni, coaches, students, faculty, and other institutional representatives);
2. be responsible for assuring that admission consulting or management firms engaged by the institution adhere to the principles of the SPGP;

B. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures - All post-secondary members should:
1. provide in the notification letter of those applicants offered a place on the wait list a history that describes the number of students offered places on the wait lists, the number accepting places, the number offered admission, and the availability of financial aid and housing;
2. make applicants aware, in official communications, of summer or mid-year admission if such programs are available;
3. not apply newly-revised requirements to the disadvantage of a candidate whose secondary school courses were established in accordance with earlier requirements;
4. not discriminate in the admission selection process against applicants based on the particular application form that an applicant uses, provided that the college or university has agreed explicitly, as in COMMON APPLICATION™ membership, or implicitly, as in online or other computer-based technology, to accept the particular version of the application;
5. admit candidates on the basis of academic and personal criteria rather than financial need. This provision does not apply to international students ineligible for federal student assistance;
6. not use minimum test scores as the sole criterion for admission, advising or for the awarding of financial aid.
7. educate staff in understanding the concepts of test measurement, test interpretation and test use so they make informed admission decisions about the test data
8. conduct institutional research to inquire into the most effective use of tests for admission decisions;
9. refrain from the public reporting of mean and median admission test scores and, instead, report scores by the middle 50percent of the scores of all first-year applicants, admitted and/or enrolled students;
10. view financial aid as supplementary to the efforts of students’ families when students are not self-supporting;
11. meet the full need of accepted students to the extent possible, within the institutions’ capabilities;
12. refrain from asking students where else they have applied;
13. utilize an equitable process of needs analysis methodology in making expected estimates or awards of the amount of financial aid that may be available to students after documentation is provided;
14. refrain from changing the financial aid awards to match those of the students’ other college choices.
15. notify accepted aid applicants of financial aid decisions as soon as possible before the enrollment notification deadline date,assuming all requested application forms are received on time;
16. include a current and accurate admission calendar in publications and Web sites. If the institution offers special admission options, such as Early Admission, Early Action, Early Decision, wait lists, Restrictive Early Admission or Early Admission, the publication should define these programs and state deadline dates, notification dates, required deposits, refund policies, and the date when the candidates must reply;
17. not notify first-year candidates for fall admission prior to September 15 of the senior year.
18. notify secondary schools, when possible, of admission decisions in a timely and proper manner;
19. report test scores for special subgroups that may include athletes or non-native speakers. Universities with more than one undergraduate division may report first by division and then by special subgroups within divisions. Clear explanations of who is included in the subgroup should be made. Those institutions that do not require tests or for which tests are optional will only report scores if the institution clearly and emphatically states the limits of the scores being reported;
20. clearly publicize policies, such as placement and awarding of credit, that are based on test results;
21. issue a statement of disclosure as to how demonstration of student interest is used in the application process. Demonstration of student interest includes such measures as evaluating students on whether they visited campus, contacted admission representatives before or during a school visit, or the frequency of email or mail contacts initiated by the students

III. Counseling Members—Best Practices

A. Admission, Financial Aid and Testing Policies and Procedures - Counseling members should:
1. provide a program of counseling that introduces a broad range of post-secondary opportunities to students;
2. encourage students and their families to take the initiative in learning about colleges and universities;
3. provide information about opportunities and requirements for financial aid;
4. provide accurate descriptions of the candidate’s personal qualities that are relevant to the admission process;
5. urge students to understand and discharge their responsibilities in the admission process in a timely manner; counsel students and their families to notify and withdraw applications from other institutions when they have accepted an admission offer;
6. encourage students to be the sole authors of their applications and essays and counsel against inappropriate assistance on the parts of others;
7. report any significant change in a candidate’s academic status or qualifications, including personal school conduct record between the time of recommendation and graduation, where permitted by applicable law;
8. establish a written policy on disclosure of disciplinary infractions in their communications to colleges;
9. provide a school profile, when applicable, that clearly describes special curricular opportunities (e.g., honors, advanced placement courses, seminars) and a comprehensive listing of all courses with an explanation of unusual abbreviations and any information required for proper understanding
10. inform students about the tests needed for admission, where students may take them, how to interpret the results, and how test results are used for admission;
11. report, in the case of secondary schools, the middle 50 percent of all students tested by discrete grade level;
12. refrain from encouraging students to apply to particular colleges and universities to enhance the high schools’ statistical records regarding the number or amount of scholarship awards received;
13. counsel students not to submit more than one admission deposit, which indicates their intent to enroll in more than one institution
14. work with school officials and other relevant individuals to keep test results in perspective;
15. counsel students to comply with requests for information in a timely manner;
16. counsel students who have deferred admission that they should follow any conditions imposed by the deferring institution.

Grievance Procedure
I. If, in the opinion of a member school, another member has violated the principle or the spirit of this Statement, this procedure, based on Matthew 18:15-18, should be followed:

• The schools involved should contact one another to verify the facts of the incident or problem.
• If there is a difference of opinion regarding an incident, they should work together to resolve their differences.
• If unresolved, the NACCAP Governance Committee should be contacted in order to act as a mediator to resolve the dispute.
• If appropriate, the Governance Committee will present its findings to the NACCAP Board.

II. Disciplinary Actions:
• A letter will be sent from the Governance Committee to the president and chief enrollment officer of the school(s) in violation.The purpose is to request adherence to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice, outline possible sanctions, provide statement of censure, or other appropriate course of action.
• Depending on the violation and the college response, other action may follow. Final recourse could be a vote of the Board for expulsion from NACCAP. This vote would require a two-thirds majority of the Board.

The majority of the content of this document has been adapted (by permission) from the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

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