Black Friday is here. It’s usually associated with price reductions and deals on consumer goods. Check out your favourite online stores and you’re almost guaranteed to save some serious cash.

Black Friday deals in international education

It turns out that Black Friday deals are a thing in international education too. Apparently there are quite a few educational institutions out there offering international students short term price reductions on their courses.

There is a really interesting discussion on Linkedin this week in which a range of international education industry players explore some of the issues and implications around Black Friday deals.

The thread was started by Simon Costain from Australian education agency Go Study, who posed this question:

black friday deals

“Does anyone else in education feel that colleges offering ‘Black Friday Sales’ (that last a week mind you) cheapens their product, seems inconsistent with the rest of their marketing strategy and gives a nod to an American concept that most other countries don’t really believe in? “

His questions triggered a good discussion. Here’s a summary of the key themes and issues:

It’s education, not retail…

Several comments noted that offering Black Friday deals for education turns education into a commodity or “standard consumer product”, rather than the “development service/pathway” that it is.

Most commentators also agreed that discounting was a ‘quick win’ tactic. The harder path – but the one that delivers greater longer term benefit – is considering and marketing the unique value proposition of an institution and the courses it offers.

A race to the bottom…

Most comments agreed that colleges offering Black Friday deals to international students “will likely get a short-term spike of low-quality applicants”, but over the long term offering poor quality courses and services would have a negative effect.

Education agents are drivers…

Several comments pointed out that education agents play a role in generating Black Friday deals in international education.

Anna France, CEO at Langports English Language College said

Black Friday is another level and has now become Black November for many agents who are getting promotions from schools. As a school, if you don’t join, the agencies don’t sell you… there has to be a better way.

Ben Bagshaw Global Sales and Marketing Director at Greenwich College, added:

Some markets push this harder than others, my experience is that Brazilian agencies in particular demand this, not so much in other regions.

If you want to dive deeper on these issues, check out the full discussion on Linkedin.

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Photo by Justin Lim on Unsplash