US colleges and universities wishing to use commissioned agents to recruit international students will now be permitted to do so, provided they follow new guidelines to ensure accountability, integrity and transparency, according to new rules adopted at NACAC's 69th National Conference.
The changes affect NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice, the voluntary ethical standards covering thousands of US college admission professionals, counselors, institutions of higher education, and schools.
The vote, taken in response to the recommendations of NACAC’s Commission on International Student Recruitment, marked a significant change in the association’s long-held position regarding the use of agents in international student recruitment. The NACAC Assembly, a governing body of 213 representing the association’s total 13,000 members, passed the measure after a spirited discussion emphasizing the complexity of student recruitment on a global scale.
“The Assembly’s vote is an important step forward that will enable us to continue to protect the rights of students while resolving questions about the propriety of using commissioned agents in international recruitment,” said Jim Rawlins, NACAC immediate past president. “I commend the Assembly for addressing this difficult issue in a comprehensive and collegial manner and for taking into account the many points of view on this issue.”
The new requirements will take effect after a one-year moratorium during which NACAC’s Admission Practices and International Advisory Committees will continue to interpret and refine the implications of the Assembly’s vote for US colleges and universities that recruit students from countries outside the US.
NACAC established the Commission on International Student Recruitment in 2011 to address a long-running controversy over the use of commissioned agents to recruit international students and potential problems arising from such arrangements. Key issues considered by the Commission included:
• An exploration of institutional policies and practices for the recruitment of international students in light of well-established principles for admission practice;
• Obstacles institutions face in the recruitment of international students and ways in which such obstacles can be addressed;
• Federal policy challenges facing US institutions wishing to engage in international recruitment.