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The Registrar profession is an ancient one that dates back to
the medieval university where the beadle was considered an official or academic officer who proclaimed messages and executed the mandates of the university authorities.
In the United States, at the first institution of higher education (Harvard College, est. 1636), the registrar's academic record-keeping function was initially a part-time duty assigned to a faculty member. But as student enrollment grew, this status changed rapidly. By 1880, 10% of the institutions of higher learning had full-time registrars; 42% by 1900; 76% by 1920; and more than 90% by 1920.
On August 15, 1920, 15 collegiate registrars assembled in Detroit, Michigan to form a permanent national conference. In 1949, that organization added admissions officers to its membership to establish what is known today as the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). AACRAO, the parent organization of many state and regional organizations, provides support to the various services, roles, and responsibilities of the Registrar's profession.
The Middle States Association of Collegiate Registrars and Officers of Admission (MSACROA) is the oldest of the regional groups of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). In 1922, twelve registrars met ("The Maryland Experiment") to discuss matters of common concern. After this start, the group grew until it was formalized in 1930. At that time, 50 participants formed the Association of Collegiate Registrars of the Middle States and Maryland.
Today, MSACROA is an active, vibrant association with a membership roll of almost 1600 professionals who represent over 400 colleges and universities. The purpose of MSACROA is to perpetuate, encourage, and expand the professional education development of its membership, to promote the exchange of ideas on educational problems, to advance the areas of admission, financial planning, institutional research, records and registration, and student services. The Association serves New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
Today, the historical responsibilities for records management,
registration, and institutional data have been broadened to include an expanded role as leader in enrollment planning, student information technology, and enrollment services.