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NACAC adds int’l positions to advocacy agenda

The National Association for College Admission Counseling in the US has placed international education policy on its advocacy agenda for the first time this year. Encouraging student mobility, ensuring ethical treatment of students and promoting education as a public good are among the priorities in the organisation’s policy framework.

By solidifying its public policy positions, NACAC aims to advance governmental conversations on key international education topics. Photo: Flickr/Bill Dickinson

With over 15,000 members, the organisation’s influence on student admission practice in the US is substantial

Last month, some 120 members met in Washington DC to meet with their state congressional offices to promote its agenda.

Eddie West, director of international initiatives at NACAC said the move is a “natural extension of NACAC’s current domestic policy focus” and the group aims to support “an international focus on education funding as an investment in our shared, global future”.

The international framework is in addition to the organisation’s established advocacy positions that centre on equitable access, need based financial aid and student protection against fraud in the domestic sphere.

“We’re going to be much more active and intentional in our advocacy”

The new positions will focus on increasing equitable access to student mobility in any country, ensuring ethical recruitment and support of students who choose to study overseas and promoting education as a public good.

“We recognise private sector involvement has its place in international education but at the same time it’s problematic,” said West. “There is behaviour among bad actors that gives good private players a bad name. We want to protect international students’ interest which is fundamentally part of NACAC.”

With over 15,000 members, the organisation’s influence on international student admission practice in the US is substantial. Its position against  the use of commission-based education agents dominated the agent debate in the US until it eventually changed its guidelines in 2013.

West said with the addition of concrete positions on international education policy, the organisation is hoping to “advance conversations so NACAC can take a position on important topics” as well as bring forth international issues for its member base.

“We’re going to be much more active and intentional in our advocacy,” he confirmed.

In addition to meeting with their respective congressional offices, members also convened with the Congressional International Exchange and Study Caucus.

Founded in October by representatives Steve Pearce and Jim Himes, the caucus will promote international exchange and study programmes and aims to be a source of information for lawmakers who wish to notify their constituents of exchange opportunities.

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