The education agent aggregator model continues to attract attention, in particular in relation to issues of transparency and accountability associated with large sub-agent networks. Government inquiries and policy processes in Australia and Canada are currently considering these issues.
AgentBee monitors and reports on the publicly available information on aggregator sub-agent networks, drawing on the information available on aggregator websites. This is our 2023 mid-year update. It follows our earlier posts:
- January 2023 update: aggregator sub-agent networks, and
- Boots on the ground: agent aggregators build their networks
The chart below shows the historical growth of the sub-agent networks of selected education agent aggregators up to July 2023. It covers only a selection of the main aggregators because including them all makes the chart too busy and difficult to read. The table beneath the graph provides information on more aggregators.
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In the majority of cases the number of sub-agents claimed by aggregators remained stable in the first half of 2023. Exceptions to that rule included, Adventus.io, KC Overseas and Shorelight.
In January 2023 the Adventus.io website stated that it had “7000+” agents. By late May 2023, that number had changed to “8000+”, and it remained at that level throughout July. Adventus.io was contacted for comment on the increase – in particular on how the growth was achieved, and the due diligence process applied – but did not respond.
In a new phenomenon, the July data appears to show two aggregators – KC Overseas and Shorelight – reporting significant decreases in the number of sub-agents they work with.
Between January and June 2023:
- the KC Overseas website reported a decrease from 9,000 to 3,000 sub-agents (down 66%), and
- the Shorelight website appeared to report a decrease from 7,000 to 3,000 sub-agents (down 57%).
The drops followed significant increases in the number of sub-agents reported by both companies over the preceding two years.
We asked both agencies about the reason for the significant decreases. A spokesperson for KC Overseas said:
In total we have around 10,000+ recruitment agents onboarded with us. However, 3000 are highly active and closely working with us as compared to rest of them. So, we have updated our website to 3000 active partners.
Shorelight did not respond.
Some aggregators do not provide information about the size of their sub-agent network on their website – or at least not that we could see. Aggregators in this group include:
We asked each agency the following questions:
- How many sub-agents/recruiters does your agency work with?
- How quickly has your sub-agent/recruiter network grown over the last 12 months?
- How do you recruit new sub-agents?
- What due diligence process do you apply in deciding whether to work with a new sub-agent?
Only UniApplyNow responded as follows:
How many sub-agents/recruiters does UniApply work with?
We currently have over 1200 agents and growing, however our main influx of students is direct enrollment and government sponsored students as we work directly with government entities and high school consortiums.
We are only keen on accepting key agents, rather than a saturation of specific markets.
How quickly has your sub-agent/recruiter network grown over the last 12 months?
It has grown rapidly, but again we have a different marketing strategy, whereas we don’t rely only on agents.
How do you recruit new sub-agents?
Events globally, ICEF and others.
What due diligence process do you apply in deciding whether to work with a new sub-agent?
It is an extensive process and based on the geographic location and demographics. The CEO’s experience as a former President of OHLA Schools our sister company was to develop the market 70/30 for the past 25 years, 70 direct enrollment and 30 agent enrollment, this is our MO with UniApplyNow as well and we are quite effective.
Working with agent aggregators?
Check out our popular post: 5 questions to ask an agent aggregator about their sub-agents.
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Educational institutions can use it to:
- protect students – conduct initial and ongoing due diligence checks on education agents.
- protect your brand – detect cases of unauthorised agents using your institution’s name, logo or other IP without permission.
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