As part of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC) Admission Practices (AP) Committee’s desire to proactively promote ethical practices, we will be sending out monthly “case studies.” In these cases, we will offer a situation and discuss whether the issue is in compliance with NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practices (SPGP). If you have a question about a situation or SPGP, please contact a member of the AP Committee.
December Case: The following e-mail arrived in Sally Student’s inbox, “Dear Sally, Congratulations on your admission to Holiday University. In the holiday spirit, we have a gift for you! Our Workshop Engineering Department noticed your great efforts in your school’s maker space club. Therefore, we would like to offer you a scholarship of $5000 and a space in the Workshop Engineering Department. Space is limited. Please reply by sending in your enrollment deposit. Congratulations, Jolly Admission Director.” Sally brought the letter to her counselor. Is this situation compliant with NACAC’s SPGP?
Discussion: While this case may look easy to those familiar with NACAC’s SPGP, there are actually two issues. According to Mandatory Practices II. B. 3, “All postsecondary members agree they will permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admission and institutionally-affiliated financial aid and scholarships until May 1, and state this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission, and not establish policies nor engage in practices whose effect is to manipulate commitments prior to May 1.”
Issue 1: Does Holiday University give Sally until May 1? The answer to this is unknown. For this reason, alone, the counselor should complete a NACAC confidential complaint form to alert the Admissions Practices Committee. Please note, May 1 applies to all programs and institutionally-affiliated financial aid and scholarships even though the Workshop Engineering scholarship/program might be managed through a different part of Holiday University.
Issue 2: Does Holiday University explicitly state whether the enrollment deposit is refundable? The Interpretations section of NACAC SPGP II. B. 3 states, “offers of admission must clearly state whether deposits submitted by students prior to May 1 are refundable or non-refundable.”
Conclusion: Holiday University may or may not be operating with good principles. However, this e-mail does not clearly communicate that fact which makes the e-mail an apparent violation.