By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

This week’s View from the desk of…contribution is a marvellous distillation of the reasons why a higher education institution would work with agents for international student recruitment, and I would urge any college considering working with agents to read it.

Gabriela Facchini, responsible for International Recruitment and Partnerships at Georgian College in Barrie, ON, Canada, lists a number of benefits that the college enjoys through its agency relations, including local knowledge, deeper penetration into markets than it could ever achieve by itself, promotion of its brand, effective screening of students and assistance in establishing relationships with schools and institutions in target countries.

South of the border in the USA we have seen the debate over agents, or more specifically commission payments, continuing over recent years at Nacac, an issue that I explore in the current issue of Study Travel Magazine. One of the concerns commonly expressed within Nacac is that commission payments could lead to unscrupulous behaviour and self-interest on the part of the agent.

Far from fearing this, Facchini states, “Agents’ experience allows them to recommend what is best for each student and to follow up with them on all matters related to their choice of school, accommodation, and visa procedure and documentation, as well as cultural awareness and preparedness.” The college trusts that their agent partners will do what is in the best interests of their clients.

Another story we bought you this week concerns with continuing development of the European Association of Quality Agencies (EAQA), which held its AGM in London last week. This nascent association was established to fill a gap in student markets that had little in the way of association representation. Membership has already burgeoned to 15 members, with six more in the application process and a further 20 in the pipeline, according to the association, which is already a member of Felca, suggesting there is a demand among agencies across the continent it displaying their quality and business credentials.

Look out for the November issue of STM, which will include a feature on Canadian Community Colleges, including Georgian College.

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