The use of commission-based agents to recruit international students has increased dramatically within the past few years. Between 2011 and 2016, the percentage of schools using agents in the United States nearly tripled, jumping from 11 percent to 30 percent, according to an American Council on Education report. As of 2017, an estimated 20,000 recruitment agencies operated worldwide.

WES neither endorses nor discourages agent use. The increase in institution-agency partnerships in the U.S. in recent years, however, merits an examination of both the positive and negative aspects of working with recruitment agents.

Although WES previously conducted research on student experiences with agents and educational consultants, missing from the discussion was a look at the rationale that impels HEIs to engage agents’ services, as well as HEIs’ perspectives on recommended practices for working with them. For this reason, WES interviewed 10 institutional representatives from U.S. higher education institutions (HEIs) that have relationships with agents and asked them about their perspectives on the benefits and drawbacks.

We have concluded that care is warranted when choosing commission-based international recruiters. For institutions that do engage with recruitment agents, this article will provide best practices for engaging and developing successful partnerships and reducing risk exposure.

Read the full report at

By Eric

October 16th, 2018

The Institutional Perspective on International Recruitment Agents

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