Recruitment agencies claiming to help Chinese students study abroad have been hurt by scams of a few operators. This according to some Western universities.
Gene MacDonald, marketing associate at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, said he had promoted the university in China for the last three years and had been burned by agents, who work on a commission basis and act as a liaison between the school and the student.
"While 15% of the first year’s tuition is the industry standard for an agent’s commission [another university] might be paying 20, even 30 percent. In that case, the agent’s likely to work harder to promote that school because there’s more in it for them." Which seem logical and not fraudulent providing everyone is informed.
MacDonald was among representatives from 500 international educational institutions at China’s Education Expo, which was attended by about 30,000 students.
Jay Titus, dean of admissions at Mount Ida College, in Newton, Massachusetts, said he was told by the organizer that they were going to be strict about agent presence, but estimated "about 30 to 40% of the contact I’ve had with people this weekend has been with agents".
There is, of course, a way around this. Ignore the agents and go direct.
Jay Titus said, "China is such a sought-after market, and the admissions counselors and enrollment managers at US institutions are really looking to work with students. They have resources, and these days you can do it all online. If students do it directly, they can bypass the agents."
AsiaOneEducation reported that from 2007 to 2008, a total of 81,127 Chinese studied at US higher education institutions, an increase of 19.8% from 2006.