The global COVID-19 crisis has forced many education agents out of business.

A recent survey of over 2,000 education agencies in five Chinese cities – Shenyang, Qingdao, Nanjing, Chengdu and Hangzhou – found that only 18% of agencies are active and offering study abroad related business.

The survey was conducted by business intelligence firm Bonard. The firm’s China branch manager, Grace Zhu said:

The rest are closed now, yet we don’t know if they will resume when situation gets better, bigger chance they have already changed to different industry.

Educational institutions should consider what the future education agent landscape might look like, and how it may affect their international student recruitment strategy.

It’s also important to have a clear action plan to implement immediately if one of your education agents goes under.

Your Agent Closure Checklist

1. Advice to students

The impact of the education agent closure on students should be the first and most important consideration.

Things to consider:

  • Has the agent advised the students they are working with of the closure? If so, what is the nature of that advice?
  • Has the agent recently referred students to your institution? If so, what is the impact on them?
  • Do you need to communicate directly with impacted students?

2. Contractual Termination

Check you written agreement or contract with the agent.

Things to consider:

  • What does it say about the circumstances and process for termination?
  • Do you need to take steps to formally terminate the agreement/contract – for example by writing to the agent?

3. Regulatory notifications

This is probably most relevant for educational institutions in Australia, where the use of education agents is regulated as part of the ESOS Framework.

Things to consider:

  • What regulatory notifications or actions do you need to take?
  • Required action in PRISMS?

Institutions in New Zealand and Manitoba, which also regulate the interaction between educational institutions and their education agents, should consider whether any regulatory compliance obligations are triggered by the closure of one of their education agents.

4. Digital Footprint

It’s important to quickly erase (or at least reduce) the ‘digital footprint’ of your institution’s relationship with the education agent.

Things to consider:

  • Digital information controlled by your institution:
    • remove the education agency from the list of education agencies on your website, and other references to the former partnership
  • Information that your institution does not control:
    • references to the partnership between your institution and the education agency on the education agency’s website and across the web (in particular on the big social media sites – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc.)

We did a digital footprint run-through in our post on the arrest in the US of the owner of education agency EduBoston.

5. Property and intellectual property

Is any property of your institution in the possession of the education agent?

Things to consider:

  • Do your provide your education agents with, or permit them to produce, hard copy marketing material (e.g. brochures, flyers, signage, etc)?
    • If so, is the agent in possession of that material?
    • Should you ask the agent to return or destroy the material?

Need help managing your education agents?

AgentBee supports educational institutions to grow and manage an effective education agent network in line with best practice.

Find out more about our agent management solutions for educational institutions. Click here.

Source: PIE News

Cover photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash