Wednesday, August 14, 2013

College admissions as the cohort of high school grads starts to shrink

The NY Times had a story about admissions practices in a time of declining enrollments: College Enrollment Falls as Economy Recovers, that has been followed up by a story in Inside Higher Ed, The Hard (and Late) Sell, whose URL says more that its headline does:

"Colleges should "not knowingly recruit students who are enrolled, registered, have initiated deferred admission, or have declared their intent, or submitted contractual deposits to other institutions," says the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. (The statement does not have legal power, but is a respected ethics code for the admissions profession.)

"So more than a few admissions officers and high school counselors did a double-take when they read in The New York Times Friday that Loyola University in New Orleans this summer "made a flurry of calls to students who had been accepted but had decided to go elsewhere, and had even paid deposits to other colleges." Loyola is among a number of colleges that this year were seriously below their targets for a freshman class for the fall, and the Times cited that strategy (which would seem to directly violate the NACAC statement) as one being tried. And so counselors did what they generally do when they learn of violations of their code of conduct: they asked NACAC to investigate.

"Loyola says that its officials were misquoted by the Times (more on that later) and that it strictly abides by the NACAC guidelines. But it also turns out that some other colleges have been going after students who have made deposits and commitments elsewhere, in violation of the NACAC guidelines."


dWj said...

Not that this is your primary interest here, but doesn't it seem in general that a lot of "ethics" codes turn out to have significant anti-competitive elements?

dWj said...

Come to think of it, in fact, the famous Porter and Green paper (and the Athey/Bagwell work that built on it ten years ago) might well be relevant; you can build a cartel when there's repeated interaction, but there will be limits as to how much stress it can take when cheating becomes particularly attractive (or, in this case, when not cheating becomes particularly unattractive, which many economists would regard as the same thing).