Document Details

Title The agent question: insights from students, universities and agents
Author The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education - The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education


The education agent is an individual or organisation that helps a prospective student enroll in an education institution or helps an education institution recruit students. Many agents do both. The tension between widespread agent use by prospective students and institutions and determined opposition by critics is the stimulus for this report. The report brings together data from different constituents to the agent question: data on the characteristics and views of agents, and the use and evaluation of agents by prospective students and education institutions, primarily universities and colleges. Analysis of this data is designed to make the agent debate less rhetorical and more evidence-based. The report concludes that agents are a logical response to the dramatic rise in demand for higher education around the world, and for cross-border higher education in particular. A large majority of students and institutions that use agents are broadly satisfied with the service, and it is hard to surmise that the bulk of this satisfaction is illegitimate. Indeed, student overall satisfaction with agents is similar to student satisfaction with institutions. The range in agent performance, however that is defined, is emblematic of the variation one inevitably finds within any industry or sector, not evidence of any inherently negative character of the agent model as such. If done well, evolving regulation, in host and destination countries, will help accentuate the benefits of agents and minimise scope for bad practice.

Date 03/09/2014
Region(s) Australia & Pacific Rim, Europe, North America, All Regions
Countries Australia, New Zealand , United Kingdom, Canada, United States, International
Theme(s) Mobility, Regulatory Frameworks
Topic(s) International Students, Regulation

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