A question that often comes up for educational institutions is whether they should list their education agents on the website.
I think the answer is a definite “yes” and I will come back to the reasons why in a moment.
Before I do, let’s look at the reasons why an institution may decide not to list their agents on their website.
The main point raised by those opposed to listing their agents is that the information is commercially sensitive. Lots of time was invested in identifying and recruiting new agents, so why give competitors a head start by making the list of agents public?
I understand the concern but it doesn’t stand up. Here’s why.
First, it assumes that institutions drive the education agent recruitment process. That’s not entirely right.
Education agents are business people who are always looking for ways to grow their business. If an agent is working successfully in a certain market you can bet that they are approaching as many institutions as they can to seek new agency agreements and expand the number of choices they can offer students. When they do they’ll almost always be saying which other institutions they act for. The fact that an institution chooses not to list its agents won’t stop competitors finding out who their agents are.
Second, if an institution wants to recruit new agents they can already look at the education agent lists published by the huge number of institutions that do list their agents. Google “education agents” and you’ll see what I mean.
Third, there are big benefits that you miss out on if you don’t publish your agent list. Let’s look at those now.
1. Better return on investment (ROI)
Building and managing an agent network takes time and resources. To maximize the ROI on all of that work you should make it as simple as possible for potential students to find your agents.
If a prospective student visits your website they should be able to quickly find your agents. If they can’t you may lose students that may otherwise have contacted one of your agents and resulted in an enrollment.
To conclude on this point, let’s bring it back to basics. Your education agent strategy is probably just one of several international student recruitment channels that you are actively promoting. It’s logical that your agent channel should also be actively promoted. Listing your agents on your website is an important way to do that. Keeping your agent list secret is like investing in a program of country visits, but not telling prospective students where you are visiting or when.
2. Listing agents is best practice
I have written quite a bit on best practice education agent management and recently did a review of global best practice.
A number of the best practice documents from around the world listed in that earlier post say that institutions should list their agents to support transparency.
It follows that institutions striving to implement best practice education agent management should be walking the talk on transparency by publishing their list of education agents.
3. You won’t go to jail
Ok so I am exaggerating…a bit. But it is worth noting that in Australia and the Canadian province of Manitoba, institutions are required by law to list their education agents on their website.
In Australia failure to do so is a criminal offence. Seriously.
Here is the relevant section of the Australian Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000:
A “penalty unit” is currently $180 Aussie dollars, so the maximum penalty for the offence for an Australian institution that does not list its agents on its website is $10,800. It might not break the bank, but nobody likes the idea of a criminal record.
Part 2: How to create and publish an awesome agent list
The issue with publishing an agent list is that it’s yet another administration task that goes with best practice education agent management.
In-house international recruitment teams are often stretched and already have lots of agent management tasks – agent recruitment and vetting, engagement and training, and monitoring. Maintaining an up-to-date agent list on your website is another job on the pile.
And it can be quite labor intensive, particularly if you work with lots of agents. Someone has to do the data entry to input agent details in the first place and keep it all up to date when there are changes.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be hard.
AgentBee enables in-house recruitment teams to maintain and publish an awesome education agent list, which you can embed on your own website, or we can host it for you.
If your university, college or school wants to list its agents, or improve the list you’ve currently got, get in touch with us today.
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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash