NACAC Calls for Better Transfer Practices

Changes from NACAC GAO Articulated transfer agreements

Last week, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) adopted a new Code of Ethics and Professional Practices for (the) College Admission Profession. The 15-page document included some bold statements that impact schools’ obligations to transfer students and was unanimously approved by the NACAC Assembly at the 73rd National Conference in Boston.

The Code “provides clear ethical principles, as well as procedures for implementing and monitoring them” for college counselors and admission professionals. “It protects students from unethical recruitment practices and shields institutions from unfair competition.”

More than just a set of guidelines, NACAC members agree to follow the Code. “NACAC is known for its role as a trusted source of ethics within the college admission process, and the new code is unique in that it includes our mandatory practices as well as potential penalties if individuals or institutions don’t observe these standards,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC CEO.

The portions of the document most relevant to transfer are as follows:

Colleges will publish up-to-date lists of the institutions with which they have articulated transfer agreements, including which courses and credits transfer and the minimum course grade that is acceptable for transfer.

Before transfer candidates are required to submit an enrollment deposit or other commitment to enroll, colleges will provide them with an evaluation of their prior college-level credits that is a good faith estimate of how those credits will be applied toward their graduation requirements. An online articulated transfer agreement will meet this requirement.

As a company, we have obviously been strong supporters of transparency in transfer for more than a decade. It is our hope that NACAC members turn to resources like TES and Transferology to help them comply with these new requirements.

The NACAC Code of Ethics was last updated in 2007; this update is effective immediately. The timing of the Code is interesting in that it follows on the heels of the August GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office) report about transfer and credit loss: Students Need More Information to Help Reduce Challenges in Transferring College Credits. The GAO’s findings are a bit disappointing for those of us who have been watching transfer since the 1990s; the numbers look eerily familiar. The GAO estimates that:

  • 35 percent of college students transferred to a new school at least once from 2004 to 2009
  • 62 percent of these transfers were between public schools
  • Students lost, on average, 43 percent of their credits

Now, 2009 was a long time ago in “transfer years.” In some ways the GAO study was woefully out of date the minute it dropped. A lot has changed in the technology of transfer solutions since the late 2000s. TES was first introduced early in 2005 as a beta, but its adoption rate increased dramatically from 2008 forward. (Most institutions were still doing it “the hard way” before 2010, utilizing PDFs and email or even paper forms and campus mail.) Transferology, a reimagining of the old Course Applicability System (CAS), was introduced just over three years ago. We can hope that the next study by the GAO shows more improvement in the area of preventing credit loss with better advising, both in person and via electronic means as institutions have learned to value their transfer student responses more highly.

Links

NACAC Press Release: https://www.nacacnet.org/news–publications/newsroom/nacac-assembly-adopts-new-code-of-ethics-and-professional-practices-for-college-admission-profession/

NACAC Code of Ethics: https://www.nacacnet.org/globalassets/documents/advocacy-and-ethics/statement-of-principles-of-good-practice/spgpfinal_approvedsept2017.pdf

GAO Report: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686530.pdf

Cuppa GAO: Coffee with the Experts (recorded live Q&A): https://www.facebook.com/usgao/videos/1573484612711091/?hc_ref=ARQvXgqdf-_A5wr2duxQf1D8UJdwaCoCVjIxSNwazPowyBztPANAMl24R65ntXciSew

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