What is AIRC certification?

The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) is a non-profit membership association that champions the interests of international students and educational institutions and agencies. They do this by developing professional standards and partnerships that promote effective and strategic international recruitment and enrolment. Certified members of the AIRC who have AIRC certification, such as upGrad GSP, demonstrate compliance with best practices and high-quality standards.


What is AIRC?

The AIRC is an organisation of accredited secondary and post-secondary institutions, student educational recruitment agencies and service providers. It upholds standards-based international student recruitment and enrolment practices. It also develops and provides resources, services and programs to over 350 members. This aims to help them adhere to standards and advance recruitment goals, particularly in the United States.


What is AIRC certification?

An AIRC certification attests to the quality of an educational agency – that is, a contracted representative (organisation, company or association) that provides student recruitment services and receives commission or incentive for recruited or enrolled students.

An agency receives its AIRC certification after an external review of their agency’s headquarters and branches, and once they’ve successfully complied with these standards:

  • organisational effectiveness
  • integrity of the recruitment process
  • student and family engagement pre- and post-enrollment
  • institutional engagement pre-and post-recruitment
  • complaints process.

The certification is valid for five years in the first round and ten years thereafter.


Who is eligible for AIRC certification?

An AIRC certification is intended for agencies, including institutions, organisations and companies, that recruit international students to accredited programs and institutions around the world and have already recruited for such in the US (or intend to do so). These agencies recruit and place students into accredited colleges, universities and other educational institutions on a commercial “fee for service” basis. That means that they’re paid by the institution or the student applicant for their services, which could include counselling advice, application assistance, and placement. Individuals (i.e., those who provide similar services but don’t belong to a company) aren’t eligible for AIRC membership.

At the time of certification, the agency must have already been in the student recruitment business for at least two years. They must also have a successful record of placing a minimum of 25 students in accredited programs or institutions.

Agencies that receive AIRC certification become members of the dynamic AIRC community. This allows them access to a network of organisations dedicated to championing high-quality student recruitment practices, as well as an invite and ticket to the AIRC’s annual conference, where professionals can learn about best practices in international enrolment management and connect with prospective partners in the field.


The AIRC certification process

Student recruitment agencies looking to obtain an AIRC certification are subject to an assessment of their operations, to see if they’re up to the AIRC’s high-quality, student-centred and ethics-based standards. The AIRC certification process follows global quality assurance processes, which include:

  • a background check of the agency and its owners
  • a vote by the AIRC Certification Commission to determine certification eligibility
  • an agency self-study report of its operations and its compliance with AIRC Standards
  • an external review site visit to one or more agency offices
  • a call for comments from the public on applicant agencies
  • a review of all gathered information and a vote for certification
  • continuous improvement through annual reporting and recertification
  • public comment and complaint procedure for certified agencies.


What does an AIRC certification mean for agencies?

When an agency receives AIRC certification, it attests to its ability to meet quality standards and proves its dedication to providing the best experience to students who are seeking educational opportunities internationally. Students can place a higher sense of trust towards organisations with AIRC certification as they are assured that they’re in good hands.


upGrad GSP AIRC certification in 2022

In 2022, upGrad GSP received its AIRC certification, showing the overall quality of its services, including the upGrad GSP staff’s extensive knowledge of the US education system. CEO and Founder Elaine Starkey said, “This certification is a positive step toward strengthening upGrad GSP’s relationship with U.S. partners. It also proves that we have kept our values of accountability, integrity, transparency and collaboration despite our growth trajectory.”


Connect with upGrad GSP today

upGrad GSP is proud to hold itself to a standard that ensures its practices and processes align with providing the best quality educational experiences to students around the globe. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you with your recruitment processes. Get in touch with one of our business development experts to know more!

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