+1 (978) 744-8828 Email Us                                                                                                                                                             

Recruiting Intelligence

Working with Education Agents: What Now?

This week, we are taking a look back at one of the more controversial topics (still!) in international recruitment – the use of agents. 

Originally, we thought this discussion was done when NACAC agreed that there was, in fact, an ethical way to engage agents to support your international student recruiting. Well…the debate wasn't quite over, for some.

We’ve all heard the education agent debate—how do I find and sustain ethical and productive relationships that benefit both my institution and my prospective students? How do I know whether I am working with the right agents? And ultimately—is using agents worth the risk? (Because we all know there are some bad actors out there).

This week we are taking a look at the regulations and a few of the underlying arguments and the evidence on either side.  

In September of 2016, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) amended two parts in their guidance to U.S. educators on using education agents. This code of ethics, titled Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), was originally adopted in 2014. This document lays out the code of ethics and standards for the association and its members.

Then, in April of 2017, the U.S.-based Middle States Commission on Higher Education proposed new policy languages that would prohibit use of incentive-based compensation for international student recruitment. That objection eventually died on the vine.

Add to that the changes taking place in China and Vietnam around how these countries have recently relaxed regulations for recruiting agencies so that almost anyone can raise their hand and announce they are now a student recruiting shop.

Yet, the American Council on Education (ACE) recently released a report on internationalization efforts by U.S. institutions and they shared this: In 2011, 17% of respondents were engaged with education agents compared with 45% in 2016. Hello!

Our own recent research with FPP EDU Media that we presented at NAFSA in 2017 identified that 50% of international students find education agents helpful as they evaluate their options. And our sample size? More than 1M students surveyed resulted in 57,000+ student responses from 65 countries! (Find the link to our slides below). Those results are some of the most substantial and reliable in our industry.

Bottom Line: While the use of education agents by U.S. institutions is on the rise (considerably!), concerns about unethical practices are being addressed. Have you figured out where the best and most reliable agents are around the world? Is your institution too fearful of the downside? If so, you are probably not relying on THE recruiting channel that pretty much all institutions with any significant increase in international student population are using. And they use agents successfully. If your goal is to increase international student enrollment, ignore this recruiting channel at your own peril.

Read on to get some of the details of recent regulatory challenges and our insights into using agents to support your international student recruiting. This channel cannot be ignored. The risks are really only in whether you put the right processes in place to select and manage your recruiting team.

Read More

Resource Tip: ICEF Agent Barometer = Expert International Student Intel

Here at Intead, we are always on the hunt for reliable resources and information to help our clients, and favorite blog readers  make better decisions about their recruiting and marketing plans. While the ICEF Monitor Agent Barometer is not new (it’s been published annually since 2007!), it is a great resource of information from people on the ground, working directly with student every day–agents! They can be extremely helpful and reliable sources.

Considering the amount of change in the air here in the U.S., in the U.K. and frankly, a whole lot of other important student-focused regions, having a strong agent network is like having your ear to the ground in all of these regions. Without in-country partners, you are relying on international news sources to tell you what the cultural sentiments are and how economic conditions are changing. Good agents are a great source of current intel.

Bottom Line: The 2016 Agent Barometer survey gathered responses from 1,111 agents in 108 countries. The survey suggests that the U.S. is losing ground as an attractive destination for international students. Finance is less of a concern for students, while the responsiveness of universities is still essential for getting students to your campus.

Another helpful resource to be on the lookout for is "NAFSA's Guide to International Student Recruitment: 3rd Edition" about all things international recruiting coming out in May 2017, and featuring an Intead-written chapter "Effective Marketing Practices for International Student Recruitment: Simplifying the Complexity of Academic Global Branding" on digital marketing strategy and tactics.

Read on for details and links to valuable information sources and our agency evaluation form to support your recruitment plans. You’ll have to read to the end to get all the good stuff! Don’t forget to share it with your team.

Read More

Successful Recruiting Agents Look Like This

Recruiting agents are increasingly used by our university clients these days. There is far more ease in the move in this direction since NACAC removed a significant barrier. As institutions consider the options, it is important to understand how to use agents well. It would be nice if someone were to write a book about that, don’t you think?

Turns out there is a lovely online resource, an e-book that your peers have widely contributed to, reviewed and accepted as a valuable source. You can download it for free right HERE.

As fortune would have it, this e-book was written and produced by Intead (heard of those guys?) and more than 2,000 downloads later, the e-book continues to find its way into the hands of admissions teams researching best practices.

Bottom Line: Agents are a reliable way to outsource your sales processes to distant lands ONLY IF you put real budget dollars behind making those sales representatives well-versed in your university’s selling points. Sales reps can’t sell a product they don’t know well. Meet us at the AIRC and ICEF conferences coming up in December and we can teach you a whole lot more. Our ICEF Pre-conference Global Marketing Workshop for Education Institutions is filling up.

Now for some perspective on what agents do and how to figure out if they are doing it well for you.

Read More

The Motivation to Seek Education

 

 

Welcome back to our Recruiting Intelligence Blog. With this blog, we hope to peak your curiosity.

Our team has been hard at work over the summer reviewing data and conducting research. Stay tuned each week and we will share our best work with you.

And as you plan your international student recruiting activities, consider that Intead will be presenting on topics of Global Marketing at 3 upcoming conferences:

Today, we are talking about the motivations to seek education. What makes people curious?

Read More

Why We Use Agents – Hongqian’s Reflections

Nafsa - That's a Wrap

As a seasoned admissions colleague and first time Nafsa attendee shared with me last week, “The pace of this conference is insane!” I couldn’t agree more. And if you tried to attend the Brazilian, Turkish and New Zealander’s evening receptions, well, “insane” doesn’t start to cover it.

Following all of the great conversations we had during our 3 presentations at #Nafsa15 (slides to follow next week), we must thank all of our co-presenters and the many attendees who participated, asked questions and fostered the discussions. Digital marketing is new and constantly changing. Learning how other universities have waded into this form of global marketing helps keep us all on the right track.

Following the theme we started last week with a focus on the student experience, today we get the first-hand, personal details from Hongqian Su, a Chinese student who chose to get her Master’s Degree here in the US. The student experience is critical to our understanding where and how to allocate our limited resources for the best results.

Students and Agents

Hongqian Su, from Beijing, has just completed NYU’s prestigious and rigorous master’s program in digital marketing. With degree in hand, she is now moving on from Intead’s internship program as well and heading out into the world. The story of how she came to study in the US is informative to all of us doing international recruiting and admissions work. Note the important and influential roles of her mother and her agent and her reflection on the application process now that she has earned her degree.

Intead regularly analyzes macro data sets about digital marketing and international student mobility. We also engage in small focus groups and one-on-one conversations with international students so we don’t lose our focus on the micro interactions that inform our work.

Thank you Hongqian, for all the great work you did for Intead during your internship. We will miss you while we watch your star continue to rise.  

As for you, our readers, Hongqian’s student experience is concrete and real. Read on to gain some valuable recruiting insights. We've highlighted some key marketing points to make it easy for you.           

 ~ Ben Waxman

 

Read More
Topics: Agents

Focus on Taiwan: International Student Recruitment 101

I recently had the pleasure of connecting with Lavinia Yang, Executive Director of First Study, a Taiwanese education consultancy. Ms. Yang shared in depth responses about the recruiting landscape in Taiwan. Higher education professionals with an interest in developing or expanding recruitment in Taiwan should read Ms. Yang's insightful responses to my questions.

Read More