1st Edition

Student Recruitment Agents in International Higher Education A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on Challenges and Best Practices

Edited By Pii-Tuulia Nikula, Vincenzo Raimo, Eddie West Copyright 2023
    268 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With a focus on the growing number of institutions employing commercial agents to support international student recruitment, Student Recruitment Agents in International Higher Education provides an evidence-based exploration of this phenomenon, and will increase the reader’s understanding of the multiple dimensions of agent engagement, its contradictions and complexities.

    This book explores who and what these education agents are, what students and higher education institutions can expect from a good agent, how bad agents can be identified and avoided, and what we learn from the reasons for the development of these agents in the first place. Offering theoretical perspectives with practical applications, this volume features contributions from academics and scholar-practitioners, laying out fresh perspectives and insights on topics such as process transparency, developing agent policy and procedures, and government regulations.

    Providing the ideal reference for students embarking on international study, agents, higher educational institutions, government/accreditation agencies, researchers, and practitioners, this insightful book acts as a critical basis for further research and improvements in higher education practice.

    Part I: Setting the Scene  

    1. Education Agents: Key Issues, Themes and Stakeholders 
    Pii-Tuulia Nikula & Vincenzo Raimo  

    2. From Student to Agent to Faculty: How my Journey has Influenced my Work with Education Agents 
    Shenton Chang  

    3. The Risky Terrain of Outsourcing Recruitment: Ethics Versus Expediency 
    Liz Reisberg & Philip G. Altbach  

    Part II: Education Agent and Consultant Perspectives  

    4. The Agent Voice: Agents’ Perspectives on Recruiting and Student Services Before and After the Pandemic 
    Craig Riggs

    5. An Ethical Approach to Student-Centered Commission-Based Recruitment: The Way Forward
    Mark A. Ashwill  

    6. Education consultants’ work and international education: an examination of the technical and emotional dimensions
    Kenneth Han Chen

    Part III: Agents’ Value Propositions and Impact

    7. Agents and Test Preparation: The Quest for High Scores on Standardized Tests
    Meng Xiao and Linda Serra Hagedorn

    8. International Education Agents: Lessons from the History of IDP
    Denis Blight

    9. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Toward a student-centred value proposition for agents
    Jeanine Gregersen-Hermans & Karin Klitgaard Moeller

    Part IV: Agent Management & Views of Higher Education Institutions

    10. Agent Management Best Practices
    Pii-Tuulia Nikula and Eddie West

    11. Building an Effective Agent Engagement Strategy to Empower Strategic Growth in New Zealand 
    Brett Berquist and Marcelo Credidio

    12. Recruitment Agents in Italy: Perspectives of Higher Education Institutions
    Enrico Sartor

    Part V: Student Views

    13. Pursuing Higher Education Dreams in the U.S.: Portraits of Chinese Families Assisted by an Education Agent
    Yi Leaf Zhang, Meng Xiao and Linda Serra Hagedorn

    14. Giving voices to Chinese international students using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA): the application experiences to UK universities via education agents in uncertainty
    Ying Yang, Sylvie Lomer, Jenna Mittelmeier and Miguel Antonio Lim

    Part VI: Government and Regulator Perspectives and Country Studies

    15. Exploring the reasons for the development of India’s education agent system
    Raghvendra Singh and Dylan Rust

    16. Regulation, Deregulation and Self-regulation: The Evolution of China’s Policy on Education Agents
    Siyuan Feng

    17. Education New Zealand’s agent engagement programme: Building a more sustainable international education sector
    Geneviève Rousseau Cung, Ana Azevedo and Sebastian Klinkum

    18. Client-Agent Dispute Cases
    Jon Santangelo

    19. Conclusions, Emerging Trends and Future directions for education agents and their stakeholders
    Vincenzo Raimo, Pii-Tuulia Nikula & Eddie West


    Pii-Tuulia Nikula is a Principal Academic at Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Technology and Skills. Her research focuses on questions of education agent management and governance.

    Vincenzo Raimo is an independent higher education consultant and Visiting Fellow at the University of Reading, where he previously served as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement).

    Eddie West is Assistant Dean of International Strategy and Programs at San Diego State University, where he provides leadership of international partnership development, collaborations, and overseas programs.

    "Although a longstanding practice for institutions in Australia and the UK, the use of student recruitment agents is now a topic of increasing interest for institutions world-wide. Seen as controversial in some quarters but readily accepted as the norm in others, there could not be a more timely publication to support a greater understanding of the complexities of business models in international education, the rapid evolution of those business models in the face of the global pandemic, and the shifting role played by commercial agents in international student acquisition and retention."

    Dr Douglas Proctor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

    "Pii-Tuulia Nikula, Vincenzo Raimo and Eddie West have opened the world of education agents for all to see – and what an important world it is! Agents mediate the flow of six million students across the world, foster the hopes of families and open opportunities for young people, stabilise the finances of educational providers, and cross the cultural boundaries for everyone. This compelling book tells us much we did not know and also makes the agent industry accountable in a new way. A major contribution."

    Simon Marginson, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford and director of the ESRC/RE Centre for Global Higher Education

    "Outsourcing has been a staple of the higher education sector but one area of outsourcing that still gives institutions heart burn is international student recruitment agents. Student Recruitment Agents in International Higher Education provides diverse perspectives from institutions, students, consultants, and practitioners arming HEIs with the knowledge to navigate, negotiate and shape partnerships successfully. This inclusive book brings together rare insights into regional, governmental, and global practices and emphasizes the critical elements of a strategic agent-institution relationship."

    Joann Ng. Hartmann, Senior Impact Officer, NAFSA