Our recent post “The 6 types of education agents” drew on the excellent British Universities’ International Liaison Association report: “A Partnership for Quality: A route to a UK Quality Framework with Education Agents”. Done in partnership with the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), and produced by Edified, the report contains a ton of facts and insights on the role of education agents in the UK international student market.

In this post we’ll look at a different aspect of the report – the approach to education agent management by UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The report identified the basic elements of education agent management practice by UK HEIs. We’ve taken that list, modified it slightly to combine some elements, and provided some of our own thoughts on what each element means in practice.

education agent management practice

Reference Checks

It is critical to conduct due diligence on new education agents before appointing them. You should ask for, and check, references from other educational institutions that the agent represents.

It is also a good idea to check social media reviews for the agent on Facebook and Google. This can give you an idea of student perceptions of the agent.

The education agents you choose to work with will represent your institution and brand internationally. An investment of time in agent due diligence at the pre-appointment stage can avoid problems in the future.

education agent management practice

Formal Agency Contract

Having a formal agency contract in place with each education agency that represents your institution is a critical element of good education agent management practice. A formal agreement sets the terms of the relationship and the expectations and responsibilities for both parties.

The clarity provided by a written agency contract supports good outcomes for your institution, the agent, and most importantly, students.

education agent management practice

Establishing an agent contract does not have to be a time consuming process of printing, scanning, signing, re-scanning and sending pdf documents. Save your contract in Word or Google Docs and then use an electronic signature app like Docusketch.

For educational institutions who are considering working with agents for the first time, the contract or agreement with the agent can be a barrier. What do these documents look like? What is the content?

Here are a few examples that are publicly available on the web:

These are legal documents, so you should get legal advice to help develop a standard education agency contract that meets the requirements of your organisation.

Once you have a contract in palce with an agent, it’s useful to have a way to:

  • ensure it is easily accessible to you and the agent at any time, and
  • set a due date, so you and the agent know when the contract is due to end, and when you should start the review and renewal process.
education agent management practice

AgentBee’s education agent management app makes it super easy for your institution to manage the full agent life cycle, from assessing new expressions of interest to settling and managing your written agreements with your agents.

We use a success based pricing model, so you only pay when it works.

Contact us for more information – click here.

education agent management practice


Regular training of your agents by academic and support staff is essential. The more your agents know about your institutions and what you offer students, the better able they will be to advise and refer prospective international students.

education agent management practice


It’s a good idea to schedule an annual planning session with each of your agents where you can agree expectations – including both qualitative and quantitative targets for the coming 12 months.

If the planning session can be done face-to-face in person, great. If not, use your preferred video conferencing app.

Regular visits

Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to strengthen and cement a relationship. Aim to arrange regular outbound and inbound visits, i.e:

  • visits by your in-house recruitment and academic staff to the offices of your agents offshore, and
  • visits by your agents to your campus to see it in person, and meet key contacts.

Unfortunately face-to-face visits are hard during a global pandemic. Again, until travel becomes possible again, use your preferred video conferencing app.

Regular communication

This follows on from the training, planning and regular visits points above. All of those elements will form part of your approach to regular communication. But they are ‘set piece’ events that may only occur once or twice each year. You should also establish a pattern of more regular contact with your agents so that you can provide them with the latest updates and information about your institution and courses.

A simple way to do that is through email and or an agent newsletter that you send on a regular schedule. The problem is that it is not very user friendly for your agents. Consider how many other institutions they represent. It’s likely that their inbox will be full of updates emails from their other clients.

A much better way to keep your agents informed is by adopting a dedicated education agent portal. It makes it a lot easier for you to manage the day-to-day relationship with you agents, and for them to access the latest information about your institution when they need it. Check out our post on the 10 critical features your education agent portal should have.

education agent management practice

AgentBee’s complete education agent management app makes it easy for your institution to manage the ongoing relationship with your agents. Use it to:

  • recruit new agents and manage the on-boarding process
  • provide regular updates to your agents, with automatic notifications
  • upload the latest documents and marketing material for your agents
  • store and manage agent contracts
  • accept and student referrals from your agents and manage them through to enrollment.

We use a success based pricing model, so you only pay when it works.

Contact us for more information – click here.

Assessment – Metrics

Your planning with your agents should cover your requirements and expectations on the quantitative metrics that matter to you, for example – conversion rates, enrollment numbers, and visa issuance rates.

You should also monitor those metrics over the course of the year. If the numbers fall below agreed levels or your minimum requirements, you may need to address the issue with the agent.

Assessment – Student satisfaction

In addition to quantitative KPIs, you should consider setting qualitative KPIs for your agents based on levels of student satisfaction with the agent’s service.

Would you be happy if one of your agents was exceeding agreed student enrollment goals, but also had very low levels of student satisfaction? The answer should be “no.”

Sure, you may have lots of new international student enrollments from the agent, but to what extent has a student’s bad experience with that agent affected their impression of your institution? What impact could a bad experience with one of your agents (including the agent perhaps having provided incorrect information to the student) have on your student retention rate?

You can measure student satisfaction by surveying students who have been recruited by agents after they commence with you. As discussed above, you can also check out social media reviews on your agents on Google and Facebook.

education agent management practice

Assessment – Annual Review

If you have taken the time to discuss and agree a plan with your agents, you should also consider making time to review that plan annually. This is an opportunity for you and the agent to take stock of the relationship, taking into account agreed goals and the quantitative and qualitative metrics mentioned above.

The outcome of the review can inform the plan with the agent for the following year, assuming you are continuing to work with them. If the review is negative it is an opportunity to consider if you want to keep working with the agent.

Website listing

Any educational institution that works with education agent should list their agents on the institution’s website. We did a whole post on the reasons why – check it out here.

Under Australian law it is a criminal offence for an educational institution not to list its education agents on its website.

education agent management practice

AgentBee makes it easy for in-house recruitment teams to maintain and publish a list of their authorised education agents. We do all the work for you!

Embed the list on your own website, or we can host it for you.

Contact us for more information – click here.

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