Commissioned Agents and NACAC's Guide to Ethical Practice Series

For some colleges and universities partnering with commissioned agents to recruit international students is part of a multifaceted admission strategy. NACAC maintains a healthy concern over the potential effects of commissioned recruiting and is committed to advancing best practices.

This series guides NACAC members in the responsible use of commissioned agents in international student recruitment. The content, divided into six parts, will assist members according to recommendations established in NACAC's Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admission approved by the association’s Assembly in September 2020. Periodically, NACAC collects detailed information about agents on its annual surveys to better understand the impact of commissioned agents on the college admission counseling process. This research brief highlights findings from 2015-2018. Additionally, this fact sheet reflects findings from a flash survey conducted in January 2021 to better understand agent partnerships during the global pandemic.



Percentage of institutions that partner with agents


Percentage of institutions that increased number of agent partners since the start of the pandemic


Percentage of institutions that don’t work with agents because of ethical concerns

Resource Papers

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Perspectives & Resources

Perspective: Maintaining Sustainable and Fruitful Partnerships with International Student Recruitment Agents

Jake Reckford, a client manager at IDP Connect, shares his perspective from the agency-side on what it takes to develop successful institution-agent partnerships.

Agent Contracts: A Cornerstone of Agent Partnerships

Senior Admissions Officer at a public Midwestern institution shares the lessons learned from the institution's 10 years of experience working with agents.

One Chancellor's Comprehensive Approach to Agent-Based Recruiting

Read a chancellor's perspective on international recruitment strategies, senior management involvement, and their impact on community colleges.

International Student Recruitment Agent Management

A Canadian member institution shares their process of establishing and managing agent networks.

Wading Into the Waters of International Student Recruitment Agents

Read a member's experience navigating institution-agent relationships.

Roles and Responsibilities for Universities and International Recruitment Agents

Jaishankar Raman, Assistant Provost for International Affairs at Valparaiso University (IN), shares his perspective on how their process of selecting agent partners to maintain successful relationships has evolved over 10 years of working with commission-based agents.