Ethics and Practice

AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association working to make higher education more responsive to learners. With a membership of more than 12,500 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,300 institutions in more than 40 countries, the association provides advocacy, research, and policy-based guidance and training to higher education professionals to smooth the path for learners at every stage of their journey.

In the practice of their professions, AACRAO members carry responsibilities for conduct that balance societal, institutional, individual, and professional interests.

To guide its members, AACRAO has adopted the following principles of professional ethics and practice in academic and enrollment services. AACRAO members shall:

  • Conduct themselves with integrity, fairness, honesty, and respect for others;
  • Avoid conflicts between personal interests and professional responsibilities, and resolve perceived conflicts through full disclosure and independent review;
  • Dispense complete, accurate, understandable, and truthful information and advice at all times.

In light of these ethical principles, AACRAO has adopted the following standards of professional practice. AACRAO members shall:

  • Serve and advance higher education by safeguarding the academic integrity of their institutions;
  • Protect the legitimate privacy interests of all individuals and maintain appropriate confidentiality of institutional and student education records;
  • Advance institutional interests through the competent practice of the profession;
  • Act as stewards and objective enforcers of institutional policies and practices;
  • Promote institutional policies and practices that conform with this statement, especially when existing policies or practices are in conflict with it;
  • Promote broad and equal access to higher education for qualified students;
  • Adhere to principles of nondiscrimination and equality within the framework of institutional mission and prevailing law ;
  • Assist students to develop their talents and interests and become responsible citizens;
  • Provide to prospective students and their families accurate interpretations of institutional admissions criteria, transfer credit policies, costs, financial aid availability, and educational offerings;
  • Recruit distinct student populations (international students, students with learning disabilities, etc.) only when appropriate institutional resources and commitment to serve those populations are in place;
  • Avoid practices in the recruitment and enrollment of international students that would not be ethical in the recruitment or enrollment of domestic students;
  • Ensure that information management systems protect and maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and security of institutional records;
  • Provide accurate interpretations of institutional records;
  • Exercise sound management principles, using institutional resources effectively and efficiently;
  • Remain knowledgeable of current principles and practices of the profession;
  • Contribute to the continuing advancement of the professions;
  • Encourage the professional development of individuals at all levels of academic and enrollment services;
  • Ensure that contractors and other third-parties involved in the delivery of academic and enrollment services adhere to the principles articulated in this statement;
  • Adhere to the principles articulated in this statement.


  • Reviewed by the Board of Directors Governance Committee, no changes - Winter 2016
  • Adopted by the AACRAO Board of Directors—December 3, 2009
  • Amended by the AACRAO Board of Directors—March 31, 2010
  • Ratified by AACRAO Members—April 23, 2010
  • Reviewed by the Board of Directors, no changes - Fall 2019