AgentBee supports transparency and integrity in the education agent industry.

We’ve monitored and reported on incidents of education agent dishonesty, unprofessional behaviour, and outright criminal conduct over the last three years.

Here’s the breakdown:

2018 was not a good year when it comes to education agent dishonesty, with the number of incidents spiking in Australia and New Zealand.

The full detail one each of these incidents (and others stretching back over 10 years), including what happened, and the name of the education agency and/or individual involved is included in AgentBee:Insight. It’s our business intelligence solution that supports universities, colleges and schools to actively manage the inherent risks in working with education agents.

The incidents included in the chart above are only the most serious, publicly reported ones. Without doubt there is a lot of lower level bad behaviour by education agents that goes undetected or unreported.

Lesson Learned

There are a few key take-aways that emerge from our education agent alerts.

1. The stakes are very high 

By definition your education agents represent your institution and your brand to potential international students.

If an education agent does the wrong thing, students are hurt and your institution’s brand and reputation are damaged. Brand and reputational damage can take the form of adverse media coverage and negative word-of-mouth in your target markets.

2. Student surveys are critical

As discussed above, it’s only the most serious incidents of education agent dishonesty that are publicly reported.

To find out about lower level sub-standard behaviour by your agents, your incoming international students are your best source.

It’s important that you survey students who are recruited through agents to find out how the agent performed from the student’s perspective.

3. Knowledge is power

A really concerning aspect of our education agent alert reporting is just how long it takes some institutions to respond.

In many cases – even when an education agent has been convicted of a criminal offence – the agency remains listed on institution websites as one of their authorised agents.

This is a recipe for disaster, especially when combined with the fact that the websites of discredited agents usually remain active for months, and sometimes years after the wrongdoing is exposed.

What you end up with is this:

  • Education agent convicted of an offence, where international students are the victims.
  • Education agent's website remains active.
  • Education remains listed as an 'authorized agent' on educational institution websites.
  • Institution websites include a link to the discredited agent's website.

It ain’t pretty, but it’s happening a lot.

Why don’t universities, colleges and schools remove discredited education agents from their websites?

It’s most likely because they are simply unaware of the problem. After all, it’s unlikely that a discredited education agent will be inclined to self-report an incident to clients.

If an institution is unaware of education agent dishonesty or wrongdoing it can’t take the appropriate action (which would presumably involve terminating or suspending the agency agreement and removing the agent from any public facing education agent lists.)

That lack of awareness is a problem in itself. It means the institution does not have the crucial market information required to protect its brand and students.

AgentBee: Insight solves that problem, giving institutions that are working with education agents and easy way to check on the professionalism and integrity of new agents, and monitor the professionalism of current agents.

The screenshot below shows the simple user interface that makes it easy for you to check new agents and monitor current agents.

education agent dishonesty
AgentBee: Insight makes it easy to check and monitor your education agents.

Free trial

Try AgentBee: Insight for free to see how it can help you manage education agent risk to protect your students and brand.

Give us some quick details below and we’ll get in touch with the next steps.


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Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash