For some colleges and universities partnering with commissioned agents to recruit international students is part of a multifaceted admission strategy. NACAC maintains a healthy concern over the potential effects of commissioned recruiting and is committed to advancing best practices.

This series guides NACAC members in the responsible use of commissioned agents in international student recruitment. The content, divided into six parts, will assist members according to recommendations established in NACAC’s Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admission approved by the association’s Assembly in September 2020. Periodically, NACAC collects detailed information about agents on its annual surveys to better understand the impact of commissioned agents on the college admission counseling process.


Institutions that partner with agents


Institutions that increased number of agent partners since the start of the pandemic


Institutions that don’t work with agents because of ethical concerns

Resource Papers

Part 1 introduces the latest trends in international student mobility and the steps institutions should take to inform their decision to engage with commissioned agents in international recruitment.

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Part 2 reviews pertinent regulations and standards for institutions that work with commissioned agents. Learn how accreditation, quality assurance frameworks, and laws in the countries from which and in which an institution or agency operates shape recruitment practices.

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This installment focuses on resources institutions can use to identify and vet agents using recommendations set forth in the Guide to Ethical Practice. It also provides examples of organizations and efforts aimed at quality assurance of agents and agencies.

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A contractual relationship should be a condition of partnership with agents or agencies. Review the elements of a contract and stipulations to protect the institution and students.

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NACAC’s Guide to Ethical Practice recommends that institutions disclose that they have employed agents to recruit on their behalf. In Part 5, learn more about specific recommendations, such as providing names and contact information of all commissioned agents on institutional websites.

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Institutions should commit to frequent training and ongoing supervision of contracted agencies. This installment focuses on the institution’s responsibility for training agents, providing ongoing support to agent partners, and managing the relationship, which includes appropriately handling improper behavior.

Download Part 6