Giving something back
Nacac softens stance on agent usage at USA colleges
FDSV survey shows German outbound trends
UK Student Visitor Visa working well
Liden & Denz to open in Latvia
Fears over US J-1 Exchange programme
Lexis moves into Korean teaching market
News Round Up
US schools seek clarity on visas for conditional entry
New payment portal for agents
Britannia Brighton set to open
Australia reviews red tape for colleges
English UK leads first Libya trade mission
New International Foundation for CEG
BEC expands to Montréal
ABLS looks beyond the UK
News in brief
Inside The Industry
On the move
Q&A Educator association: English UK
Industry issues- agents speak out
Q&A Advisor Association: FDSV
Agency of the month
One–to–one in the USA
Giving something back
by Nicola Hancox, Editor of Study Travel Magazine
There's a lot of news state side in this month's issue of STM. US colleges are concerned by new draft legislation imposed by SEVP. The new draft guidance on conditional admissions and bridge programmes could see providers having to issue separate I–20s (a document required for student visa applications) depending on a students' course of study )see page 8). Many believe this simply isn't practical and, in the long–run, could harm student retention. Representative voice, EnglishUSA, has been consulted and, at the time of writing, had submitted a letter to SEVP with recommendations it hopes will be considered. It also warned there was a blurring of the lines between academic and immigration policy making.
Meanwhile, Nacac has revised its stance on commission practice (see page 6). Rather than banning incentivised commission for overseas agents entirely, they have advised members 'against it'. This carefully worded piece of policy effectively leaves it to the individual institution to determine whether or not they compensate agents for recruitment. The US tertiary sector has always eyed the agent/commission model with caution, and while this is a tiny step in the right direction, the market has a long way to go if it is to emulate the largely successful relationships UK, Australian and Canadian universities have established with study abroad agents.
There is also concern surrounding proposed changes to the J–1 visa — non–immigrant visa category for individuals approved to participate in work and study–based exchange visitor programmes. The US government is considering reclassifying individuals as 'workers' as opposed to 'students', making it illegal for agents and cultural exchange sponsors to charge for services. Agency association Belta has written to the US Senate expressing its reservations, and has warned this could damage the reputation of both effected parties, and deny thousands of Brazilian students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the USA (page 7).
While English remains the most popular language to learn, we chart the rise of French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic in our central feature (page 28), which targets the language exams students can take in order to verify their proficiency.
Meanwhile, agents discuss Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in our agent Industry Issues section (page 18). There may well be some sceptics out there as to the purpose and indeed the effectiveness of such policies, but an increasing number of businesses are embracing initiatives that aim to 'give something back'. It is important we are aware of the impact our businesses have on our immediate environment. We will be taking a more in depth look at CSR in a future issue so look out.