Nacac approves commission-based recruitment

September 24, 2013

The National Association of College Admission Counselling (Nacac) has approved amendments to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice that officially endorse the usage of commission payments to overseas agents for recruitment of international students to US higher education institutions.

A vote of 152 to 47 by the governing body at Nacac’s national conference in Toronto on Saturday signified a change in the association’s long-held opposition to commission payments to agents for recruitment. As previously reported, Nacac’s Commission on International Student Recruitment made the recommendations for a softening of the stance towards commission payments earlier this year, following a two-year moratorium and the threat of a ban in 2011.

The Statement of Good Principles now reads, “Members who choose to use incentive-based agents when recruiting students outside the US will ensure accountability, transparency and integrity.”

“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 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 changes 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 vote for US institutions.

The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) commended the agreement. “AIRC strongly supports the commission’s call for accountability, transparency and integrity by institutions engaging in agency-based recruitment,” it said in a statement.

The Statement of Principles of Good Practice upholds the rule that member institutions will “not offer or accept any reward or remuneration from a secondary school, college, university, agency or organisation for placement or recruitment of students in the United States.”

A motion proposed by Nacac’s overseas members, the Overseas Association for College Admission Counselling (Oacac), to make the wording a more non-specific “domestic market”, was referred for further study.

The Oacac group argue the wording of the new rules creates an anomaly: a US university is free to use an agent to recruit students in China, for example, but a China-based Nacac member is prohibited from using an agent to recruit American students.
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