Is the National Dean’s List Legitimate?

The National Dean’s List was a marketing business run by Educational Communications, Incorporated, which used data mined from mailing lists to “nominate” people throughout the United States for a so-called prestigious honor. The company then offered to sell nominees a bound copy of National Dean’s List members. However, the National Dean’s List was not affiliated with any institutions of higher education or government scholarship programs.

According to, Educational Communications shut down in 2007 because it had been losing money on its achievement directories. It reports that between May 2006 and May 2007, the company’s earnings dropped from over one million dollars to just $300,000. The Educational Communication website,, received traffic until early 2009.

The Better Business Bureau does not accredit the company or the National Dean’s List, although it reports that Educational Communications received the BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in 1999. It notes that the company also published the achievement directories “Who’s Who Among American High School Students” and “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” The BBB, which opened a file on Educational Communications in 1989, does not report any major customer complaints, government actions or advertising concerns regarding the company.

Educational Communications was a subsidiary of American Achievement Corporation, which supplies other education and graduation-related products such as class rings, yearbooks and commemorative recognition jewelry. The company did provide some funding for scholarships and grant money for guidance counselors. Its major scholarship program was delivered through the Educational Communications Scholarship Foundation. Educational Communications began publishing its achievement directories in 1967.