Update on Legislation Proposed in California to Register IECs

by Mark H. Sklarow, CEO, IECA

What IECA Has Done

We have been monitoring events in Sacramento and the IECA Board of Directors has met to set Association priorities as we confront the nation’s first effort to legislate our profession. We have discussed the proposed legislation with other affected groups and organizational leaders; with government affairs experts and lobbyists; and we have communicated our sense of the proposed law both publicly, through all available media, and privately.

Changes to the Original Proposed Legislation

Over the past two months, the proposed legislation has been significantly amended and watered down. It seems that the legislators discovered the complexities involved in the profession and, in my view, chose to kick the can down the road. Among the most significant changes, at least as the written text of the law now exists:

  • The description of IECs as seeking to ‘influence’ admission decisions has been changed to ‘assisting clients in the process of applying to college.’
  • Previous indications that the law will apply to IECs working with even a single California student, regardless of where the IEC is located, have been stricken.
  • The previous requirement for IECs to submit tax forms quarterly has been removed.
  • References to submitting names of clients and their college matriculation have been removed.
  • Any reference to examining college matriculation lists of clients has been removed.
What Remains in the Legislation

The only remaining piece of the legislation is that a College Consulting Advisory Task Force will be established to examine the process and any criteria for IEC registration by January 1, 2022. Of course, all of these changes could be reinstated at a later time and other conditions for registration are likely to be developed.

Next Steps

IECA’s intent is to be at the table, voicing our objection to any political legislation we see as impinging on highly qualified IECs, supporting those proposals that make sense and could actually strengthen the field, while strongly advocating for IECA members.

We will keep you informed as new information develops, most likely in the fall.

How IECs Help Level the Playing Field in College Admissions

by Mark H. Sklarow, CEO, Independent Educational Consultants Association

I am pleased that in response to the recent college admission scam, many are looking for solutions that address colleges, athletic programs, the role of privilege, and the role of independent college counselors. Unfortunately, some have suggested a solution that would increase the benefits to the already privileged.

Some opinion pieces have appeared suggesting that no one should be allowed to charge for college admission advice. This attitude favors the wealthy, privileged families that are able to send their children to private schools, often costing in the tens of thousands of dollars and whose college counselors serve small numbers of just 20-30 students. Such a system provides a benefit to those privileged enough to provide such support, while leaving public school students behind. These public schoolers often face impossible ratios of 600 to 900 students per counselor—with that counselor handling crisis intervention, course selection, as well as college advising.

Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) help level the playing field by supporting working- and middle-class students who go to public school, by allowing families of more modest means to gain similar expert help and advice at an hourly rate that is affordable for most. In addition, all members of IECA commit to efforts to serve those from underserved communities.

Those that want to stop the use of all paid assistance (would they refuse paid tutors for students struggling in school, as well?) misunderstand the fundamental role of independent educational consultants. IECs help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.


Making Character Count in Admission

by Mark H. Sklarow, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Educational Consultants Association

Let’s assume you were an admission director for a day. One spot remains for the class of 2019 with two folders in front of you. Candidate A is a brilliant young woman, with a 4.0 GPA which she achieved without breaking a sweat. In fact, she cruised through high school, never once experiencing a downturn personally or academically. Candidate B achieved a GPA a bit lower, let’s say a 3.6. But she did it faced with challenges: personal, familial, and academic. She wasn’t scared off by tough classes and succeeded with grit, determination, and a healthy dose of persistence.

Facing Deferment 

By Mark Cruver, MEd, IECA (GA)

Deferment can be equally as troublesome for independent educational consultants (IECs) as it is for students. After spending countless hours and weeks advising, coaching, encouraging, and motivating students to apply to first-choice colleges and universities, we all wait with anticipation for the news. When the moment arrives for some, the rattled voice on the other end of the phone communicates all we need to know. And then, much like our students, we wonder what went wrong.