Government Relations and Public Policy
AACRAO engages public policy issues that concern its members and the broader higher education community.
The association's policy positions and advocacy efforts are based on its members' professional expertise and
deeply held convictions about the value of higher education.
The AACRAO membership is committed to the belief that higher education is of great personal and public
value. As such, the association believes that expanding access and opportunity should be a public priority. To
protect and advance society's investment in higher education, federal regulation should respect and preserve the
autonomy and integrity of the higher education community. Working from these principles, AACRAO develops
positions on specific issues of policy that arise within higher education.
This site provides updated information and resources on relevant higher education policy issues,
legislation, regulations, and government action on the federal and state level.
AACRAO Public Policy and Education Agenda
Founded in 1910, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is a
nonprofit association of approximately 11,000 higher education admissions and registration professionals who
represent more than 2,600 institutions and agencies in the United States and 33 other countries. The association
seeks to serve and advance higher education through leadership in academic and enrollment services. It provides
extensive resources to support its members in the practice of their profession, including programs, conferences,
publications, consulting, and research services. At the same time, AACRAO offers a forum for discussion on policy
initiation, development, interpretation, and implementation within institutions and in the global educational
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As a member-based nonprofit advocacy association, AACRAO has the right “ and the responsibility “ to
help shape public policies and programs that recognize and support higher education as a positive force in
ensuring the nation's economic competitiveness, its cultural and intellectual strength, and the quality of life
of all of its citizens.
AACRAO is the public voice expressing the views and concerns of its members. It supports policies and
practices that advance access to post-secondary education for students from all socio-economic and ethnic
backgrounds, while also strongly asserting the primacy of each institution of higher education in defining its
mission and governing itself in order to best serve the pursuit and promotion of learning.
The AACRAO Public Policy Agenda outlines major issues impacting AACRAO members and presents a framework for
AACRAO's involvement in the public policy arena.
I. Federal Funding of Higher Education
AACRAO supports federal funding for financial aid to ensure that all qualified students have access to
higher education, and for research to advance knowledge and innovation. In an increasingly competitive global
marketplace, a higher education infrastructure and a well-educated population are more important than ever to
ensure economic innovation and competitiveness and a better quality of life for all.
II. Accountability and Program Integrity
Maintaining the nation's system of top quality higher education relies upon ensuring the integrity of
participating institutions as well as the integrity and accountability of the Higher Education Act's gatekeeping
system of federal recognition, accreditation and state licensure policies. At their own institutions, AACRAO
members protect academic integrity by serving as admissions gatekeepers and as codifiers and enforcers of
institutional academic policies that govern the awarding of credits and credentials. They also monitor threats to
academic integrity across the spectrum of educational institutions, since they must make decisions based upon
credits and credentials given to students by their high schools and previously attended colleges and
universities. AACRAO is alarmed by threats to the reputation and integrity of all academic institutions posed by
the rise of "diploma mills" and instances of uneven and lax standards for accreditation and state
III. Curricular Alignment between Higher Education and K-12
Academic alignment between K-12 programs and the colleges and universities that their graduates will attend
is an important and desirable goal. In achieving this alignment, however, it is critical that efforts to reform
high school core curricula for college-bound students are pursued with the clear understanding that the faculty
members of each college or university are responsible for setting its academic policies. Thus, the development of
"college ready" high school curricula must be done in close consultation with college faculty and admission
officers. Otherwise, these high school curricula may not, in fact, meet the academic policies set by varying
IV. Privacy and Data
AACRAO is deeply committed to promotion of privacy policies that maintain the confidentiality of the highly
sensitive data that students willingly entrust to educational institutions. In 1974, the passage of the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) ushered in a new era for educational privacy rights through its
application of fair information practices to educational records. The culture of privacy is so deep-rooted within
the education community that there have been few violations of FERPA over the past four decades.
V. Access and Equal Opportunity
AACRAO firmly supports the principle that the doors of higher education must be open to all qualified
students regardless of their financial resources and that, in fact, access and equal opportunity for all are the
bulwarks of a thriving democracy.
AACRAO members represent the most diverse educational system in the world, from open-access community
colleges to large research universities. Yet, all are united by a commitment to expand the number of qualified
students who attend college, to increase completion and graduation rates for all students, and to support at-risk
students so that they may have the tools and skills to succeed.
VI. Veterans' Issues
AACRAO recognizes and honors the sacrifices these men and women have made and its members are proud to
assist them and meet their educational needs.
Veterans and students on active military duty and their families face special circumstances and challenges.
Active-duty students, who may be reassigned or activated with little notice, benefit from maximum administrative
flexibility, such as providing full tuition refunds and accommodate re-enrollment upon the student's return.
Veterans receive administrative support to navigate VA eligibility and reporting issues, which can be both
cumbersome and confusing.
Because veterans and those on active duty have often been the targets of unscrupulous providers who enroll
them in sub-par programs and consume their hard-earned benefits, AACRAO is strongly supportive of improved
efforts to safeguard these students. These include improved gatekeeping by the agencies of jurisdiction,
consistency in language across legislation and branches of service, better counseling by competent advisors, and
stepped-up disclosure requirements to ensure that veterans and active military can make well-informed choices.
Agency oversight and enforcement should place primary emphasis on areas where military students and tax dollars
are now disproportionately concentrated.
VII. Immigration Policy
AACRAO urges the passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011. Commonly
referred to as the DREAM Act, the legislation would provide a path to legal status for young undocumented
immigrants who were brought to the United States as children by their parents and are pursuing college degrees or
serving in the military. It would remove barriers to higher education for students who have grown up in the
United States, attended school here, and consider themselves American.