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2020 Vision: The Strength of Our Membership

By Joyce E. Smith, NACAC CEO

Headshot of Joyce Smith, NACAC CEOMembership is the lifeblood of any organization, and throughout its history, NACAC has grown in strength and influence through the diversity of our association.

In 1937, NACAC was founded by 20 midwestern university directors of admission as a postsecondary admission association only. They started with rules about recruiting practices, financial aid, and the treatment of students. Over time, the founding postsecondary members saw the significant value of including secondary school counselors and high schools in the membership, as their voices and understanding of the needs of prospective students and families were critical to the mission of the association. The network of NACAC professionals working in admission counseling expanded to include both sides of the desk.

The move proved important then — strengthening the ranks of what would become the nation’s leading professional organization dedicated to the college transition process.

And that same philosophy remains important today as we look ahead to 2021, which will mark the beginning of a new membership model and dues structure for NACAC. 

Although it sounds “old school,” we want and need everyone assisting and supporting students and families in the admission transition process “under the same tent.” And, based on your input, our new membership structure is designed to do just that.

So, what’s different for 2021? And why am I talking to you about 2021 when the association is still wrapping up our renewal process for 2020 membership dues?

For many institutions, next year’s budget is framed early in the year and you may want to start thinking about the options now.

The revised framework allows institutions to sign up their entire staffs — professionals at every level — to receive the benefits of membership, including registration discounts for NACAC’s annual conference, National College Fairs, and other events, as well as subscriptions to the NACAC Bulletin and The Journal of College Admission. We believe this institutional model will benefit all members and offer an opportunity for newer professionals and more diverse staff to become part of NACAC, making our entire community stronger.

In this model, your institution will pay one annual membership fee based on staff size. In most cases, this fee is less than what individuals would pay on their own. Everyone on your institution's membership roster will be counted as a valued NACAC member and will have opportunities throughout the year to increase their professional knowledge and connections.

We recognize that an institutional approach might not be right for all members—not all professionals interested in NACAC membership are employed by an institution or organization, and, for others, administrative policies or limited resources might prevent their school or college from becoming an institutional member. To continue to serve such professionals, we offer a variety of individual options that give both secondary and postsecondary members the full array of benefits, including the ability to vote on bylaws, to serve as an Assembly delegate, to run for elected office, and to receive member rates for NACAC programs, services, and events such as the national conference, and more. Professionals at the secondary and postsecondary levels, as well as Independent Education Consultants and retired professionals, are eligible for this category.

There are also new lower-cost “digital” memberships that will provide access to all NACAC’s online resources—online publications, the Bulletin, the Today in College Admission news service, and the digital version of The Journal of College Admission. These memberships do not include voting privileges: members in this category also would not be able to serve as Assembly delegates, board members, or standing committee members. The memberships also do not include discounts for National College Fairs, the national conference, and other NACAC events. Professionals at the secondary and postsecondary levels are eligible for this lower-priced category, as are students, nonaffiliated professionals, affiliate staff, and university system and school district staff.

We invite you to look at the changes again, to see which membership category is right for you and to see how your 2021 dues may change using the Membership Model and Dues table.

NACAC’s future depends on the strength of its membership. It’s time to start thinking about 2021 and planning accordingly.

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