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NACAC publishes guide on how to work with agents

The US association which represents 14,000 members, and whose position on the use of international education agents in US HE became an international fixation, has published a guide that is designed to help its members navigate the often-unknown waters of engaging education agencies overseas.

An extract from the cover of the new guide, which it is hoped will encourage members to better understand international engagement opportunities

“We hope practitioners find it helpful in their work recruiting, admitting and – most importantly – supporting international students"

NACAC unveiled details of its guide, International Student Recruitment Agencies, on the eve of its 70th national conference, where it will be presented to its membership.

Eddie West, Director of International Initiatives at NACAC, explained that the guide (available online) was planned when NACAC initially revised its Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) to permit members to use commission-based recruitment practices when working internationally (this practice is not permitted domestically).

“The Assembly felt the association needed to do more than just allow the activity, given the many risks involved, and that it also needed to better define what’s meant by the three principles [of accountability, transparency and integrity that NACAC states must be employed if working with agencies],” he told The PIE News.

West also observed that NACAC’s intent is not only to clarify how to work with agencies but, “more generally we are trying to help NACAC member institutions consider the numerous other such strategies that exist”.

Intended as a blueprint for sensible engagement with agencies, the guide covers chapters on how to vet agencies, how to deal with contracts, legal requirements and signs of good practice/warning signs.

“Anecdotally it seems there’s growing interest in either beginning or increasing international student outreach efforts”

“This guide is critical to helping those engaged in international student recruitment uphold ethical standards of practice and ensure that students’ best interests are served during their college search and transition process,” commented NACAC Chief Executive Officer, Joyce E. Smith.

“We hope practitioners find it helpful in their work recruiting, admitting and – most importantly – supporting international students throughout their educational journeys.”

West acknowledged that interest in recruiting offshore appeared to be rising although firm data is difficult to elicit. “Anecdotally it seems there’s growing interest among member institutions in either beginning or increasing international student outreach efforts,” he said.

“I think that’s demonstrated by the growth in membership in our overseas affiliate organization, OACAC, as well as the growth in attendance at their annual conference.”

NACAC is also developing a related resource for international students and parents, with an anticipated publication date of early 2015.

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