You didn’t think we’d forget about student recruitment agents in our COVID blog coverage, did you?
A word to the wise: many of those institutions that have weathered the COVID-19 storm best made strategic investments in enrollment marketing during past downturns while competitors snoozed.
We know that agents are top of mind for many of our readers. Our post on how much to pay commission-based student recruiters was #1 in our top blog hits of last year and continues to inform those seeking perspective and justification. Our agent management eBook has been well read (downloaded) for years (thank you, AIRC!).
Recent surveys of education agencies around the world paint a clear picture. Agents have been hit by the pandemic. Hard.
From the Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations (Felca): 46% of agents surveyed in a recent study reported a 90% drop in business between February and August of this year. Nearly a quarter reported a 100% drop.
Our university partners around the world are feeling this pain as well. The international student recruitment pathway that produced so many great applications has become a trickle or stopped completely.
Some leading agencies predict agent use will soar post-COVID as some institutions double down on their in-country strategy and others begin honing their agent channels to make up for lost opportunities in traditional international recruitment travel and student fairs. Take that with a grain of salt. The near-term future is still exceedingly ambiguous. Physical gathering (conferences and fairs) remain a desired state, not reality. International travel, well, when was the last time you took out your passport?
Though we aren’t seeing the rebound we all want just yet, there are several indicators in the agent market that suggest the way forward. Agents have long been a reliable and valuable source of students (all caveats about vetting your agent network still apply. Thank you again, AIRC and ICEF!).
Read on for a look at the pandemic’s impact on agents and what it means for your institution’s international recruitment strategy going forward.Read More