What is NAFSA?

FOUNDED IN 1948

NAFSA was founded in 1948 as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers to promote the professional development of U.S. college and university officials responsible for assisting and advising the 25,000 foreign students who had come to study in the United States after World War II. The academic institutions, government agencies, and private organizations that combined to form NAFSA knew that meeting the needs of students from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds required special knowledge and competencies.

GROWTH IN SCOPE AND SIZE

The association's scope soon expanded to include admissions personnel, English-language specialists, and community volunteers who played an important role in helping foreign students acclimate to U.S. college communities. To reflect this growing and increasingly diverse membership, in 1964 the association changed its name to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs.

MORE STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS STUDYING ABROAD

By 1990, as the number of foreign students in the United States approached the 400,000 mark, there were 6,400 NAFSA members on 1,800 campuses and increasing numbers of U.S. students were studying abroad.

LEADING INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND EXCHANGE

Awareness grew of the importance of international competence. Larger numbers of NAFSA members led the way in creating opportunities for Americans to study abroad, participate in scholarly exchange programs, and study foreign areas and languages.

To reflect the now well-established role of NAFSA members in all aspects of international education and exchange, the name of the association was changed once more: In May 1990, the membership formally renamed the organization NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The acronym was retained to reflect NAFSA's proud past and broad name recognition. 

This information comes directly from the "Learn about NAFSA" tab --> click "History" on the NAFSA.org website.