Guiding Principles for Higher Education

The Council of International Schools promotes the highest standards of ethical practice and professional behaviour in the recruitment and admission of students into institutions of higher education. Acceptance of these standards and a commitment to adhere to and practise them in all aspects of recruitment and admission is a condition of membership in CIS. Member institutions are assumed to hold responsibility for all individuals who act on their behalf or represent them in these activities, and these individuals will at all times hold the welfare of potential and actual applicants to be of high importance.

Publications, Marketing and Promotion

Member institutions will ensure that promotional materials used with students will be clear, accurate, and up to date, emphasising the educational programmes and services available. Materials will not provide false, incomplete, or misleading information.

Code of Practice
Electronic and print versions of promotional materials should:

  • be reviewed frequently to ensure they are consistent and that they objectively and truthfully reflect the programmes and offerings of the institution
  • provide candid and pertinent information so that students unfamiliar with practices in higher education in a particular country can make informed academic judgments
  • consider and be respectful of other cultures
  • make it clear how information can be verified and/or additional information can be obtained

Member institutions will contract only with agents, third-parties, individuals or organisations whose practices and behaviours conform to the CIS Code of Ethics.

Code of Practice
Member institutions using third parties in the recruitment process will:

  • provide a copy of the CIS Guiding Principles and Code of Ethics
  • ensure transparency, accountability and integrity between the institution, student and third party.
  • ensure that contracted third parties do not accept payment from students and/or their families
  • not be allowed to send a third party to any CIS event to represent the institution.
  • monitor the practices of third parties to ensure they operate in adherence with the CIS Guiding Principles and Code of Ethics.

Non-Discrimination

Member institutions will not discriminate with regard to race, colour, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, political opinion, or disability. They will also endeavour to understand and protect the civil and human rights of all individuals.

Code of Practice
Member institutions should:

  • maintain a high degree of multicultural awareness and be knowledgeable about and adhere to all applicable laws and statutes with respect to non-discrimination
  • periodically review practices, procedures, and actual results to assure that discrimination has not occurred and is not occurring

Institutional Policies and Programs

Member institutions will establish appropriate policies governing international student recruitment, admissions, and support activities, specialised programs and curricula.

Code of Practice
Institutional policies and programs dealing with students should:

  • be documented
  • detail all aspects of recruitment, admission, financial aid and on-campus support
  • be available for review by volunteers and third-parties acting on behalf of the institution
  • make certain that appropriate information and support services are provided to students in order to ensure a smooth transition to a new educational and cultural environment

Complaints

CIS may ask for a view from the member institution as a prelude to potential further action if it considers that the evidence provided by a complainant sufficiently substantiates any claim that Standards for membership or accreditation are being systematically broken or that the CIS Code of Ethics and the Code of Practice has been breached.

However, CIS cannot assume responsibility for mediating individual grievances between students, faculty, or members of the community of CIS member institutions or accredited schools. Nor can CIS consider complaints or adjudicate in matters of admission, grades, fees, student discipline, faculty appointments, promotion, tenure, and dismissals. If the complainant has instituted or has threatened to institute legal action against the school, no action under the CIS complaints procedure will be taken by CIS whilst such circumstances remain.

Background Information

Additional resources and guidance:

  • The Draft Code of Professional Standards and Ethics for Education Counselling Service subscribing institutions
  • The Higher Education Liaison Officers Association Code of Practice
  • The Principles of Good Practice in Institutional Advertising, Student Recruitment and Representation of Accredited Status of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education
  • The Guidelines for the Recruitment, Admission and Support of International Students of the National Association for College Admission Counselling
  • The Principles of Ethical Practice in Overseas Education Advising of the Overseas Educational Advisers Professional Educators Group of NAFSA: the Association of International Educators
  • The Rights and Responsibilities for International Students and Institutions of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
  • The Code of Ethics of NAFSA: The Association of International Educators

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