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What Do Delegates Do Anyway?

What Do Delegates Do Anyway?

NACAC Delegates at  the 2014 NACAC Conference in Indianapolis

By Lianne Musser, NACAC Delegate Director
Lyons Township High School

This year’s NACAC conference in Indianapolis brought together more than 6,000 secondary and postsecondary college admission counselors to attend educational sessions, network and socialize with colleagues, and experience the products and services that will enable them to accomplish their goals.

Oh, and they had some fun, too!

Did you ever wonder what your delegates do at the conference? After all, you did vote them into office to do something, but what?

First of all, we are your representatives at conference and attend a large meeting called Assembly. We will read, understand and discuss policies at this meeting that will shape our profession and provide guidelines for future practice. All are welcome to attend this meeting, which starts at 7:30 in the morning the day after the socials. This year’s issues focused on issues regarding compensation for recruitment of students outside of the United States, guidelines for scholarship and financial aid and application creep. Another proposal was adopted that required secondary schools to explain their policies regarding the reporting of repeated coursework on the transcript or profile. The details are as follows:

Commission-Based Agents

The International Advisory Committee and Overseas ACAC developed language to guide member institutions in choosing commission-based agents. They developed a guide called “International Student Recruitment Agencies: A Guide for Schools, Colleges and Universities” that is extremely helpful and provides advice on contracts, vetting agents and incorporates the goals of added transparency, accountability and integrity in the process. The specific SPGP changes were made:

SPGP Mandatory Practice I.A.4
All members agree they will: not employ agents who are compensated on a per capita basis when recruiting students outside the United States, unless ensuring they and their agents conduct themselves with accountability, transparency and integrity.

Members will:

  1. Ensure institutional accountability by monitoring the actions of those commission-based agents acting on the institution’s behalf;
  2. Ensure transparency with a conspicuous statement on their website that indicates their institution uses agents who are compensated on a per capita basis;
  3. Ensure integrity by dealing ethically and impartially with applicants and other stakeholders, honoring commitments and acting in a manner that respects the trust and confidence placed in the institutions and the individuals representing them;
  4. Adhere to U.S. recruitment and remuneration laws (US Higher Education Act) for US citizens, where applicable
  5. Not contract with secondary school personnel for remunerations for referred students


The May 1 deadline has always been and continues to be the goal, but the reality for some institutions is that they have limited housing or utilize housing practices that differ from May 1 due to varying factors. The committee decided to resolve the problem by requiring that institutions with limited housing be required to refund the deposit if the student decided to enroll at another school by May 1.

SPGP Mandatory Practices II.B.5.
All postsecondary members agree they will work with their institution’s senior administrative offices to ensure institutionally-affiliated financial aid and scholarship offers and housing are not used to manipulate commitments prior to May 1.

  1. While it is understood that institutions with limited housing may need to adopt a first-come, first-served policy for assigning on-campus housing, it is recommended that any enrollment or housing deposits they require to secure on-campus housing should be fully refundable if the student cancels admission by May 1. It is at the discretion of each institution whether to refund fees associated with applications/contracts, but deposits should be refunded.

Application “Creep”

Some institutions were utilizing incentives such as application fee waivers to secure applications prior to the previously determined October 15th early deadline. The complaints led to new language on SPGP.

SGPG Mandatory Practices II.B.12
All postsecondary member agree they will: not establish any application deadlines for first-year candidates for fall admission prior to October 15 and will give equal consideration to all applications received by that date.

  1. Colleges and universities may welcome the initiation of applications from first-year students prior to the notification date and earliest application deadlines. Any incentives offered, including but not limited to application fee waivers, essay waivers, scholarships, housing, etc., must be honored at least through October 15th.

The second task of the delegates is to vote for the candidates that are running for positions in NACAC. We vet these candidates through written materials, a “meet and greet” where we ask candidates questions, and at the Assembly, where they deliver their personal message and vision.

We were fortunate to have two candidates from Illinois running for office: Joe Prieto and Gwen Kanelos. Our congratulations go to Gwen, who was voted in as Director and our thanks to Joe Prieto for his service to IACAC and NACAC, and for agreeing to participate in this intense election process.

The work of the delegates is really a lot of fun and is quite a rewarding experience. The delegates will be presenting a session at this year’s IACAC conference to explain more about what we do and how you can become involved.


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