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Why students use agents – demand and supply

Shepherd, E. Why students use agents – demand and supply. British Council, Hong Kong, 2011. Pages: 43.

Amidst heated debate on financial, ethical and other aspects of the use of agents by students, this new report by the British Council’s Education Intelligence unit aims to provide a clearer picture of the demand for information about services, fees, accommodation and applications that international students seek from education agents. Based on 131 000 responses to a survey conducted since 2007 at student fairs and on the Internet, the report provides insight into possible alternatives to using education agents, as well as into other types of affordable and ethical customer-focused approaches to international recruitment.

Amongst the interesting findings of the report is the fact that students in East Asia are the most likely to hire an agent, with 48% of interviewed East Asian students having had contacts with an agent, compared to 41% in Africa, 39% in South Asia, 30% in Latin America, and 23% in Europe. The study also shows that many students expect from agents some information on visa procedures, recommendations on higher education institutions, as well as information (e.g. brochures) on specific colleges.

British Council