Parents and students the world over are continually recognizing and appreciating the value of pursuing education offered outside the confines of one’s home country. According to research, the international student enrollments at various global institutions of higher learning have more than quadrupled over the past 3 decades. This is to say that the number has increased from 1.1 million back in 1985 to roughly 4.5 million in 2012. Given the increasing trend, the global mobile student population is estimated to exceed seven million by the year 2025.
The benefits of embracing a diverse international education system are not only visible to parents and students only as forward-looking leaders are also beginning to discern the value of such endeavors. In this regard, many educational institutions are responding positively by formulating and fostering international student admission, outreach and support activities. For some educational institutions, the diverse international education system is an opportunity for the international students to contribute immensely to the quality of the educational experience for the host faculty, domestic students and staff alike. For others, the picture painted by the positive contribution of international students has been marred by the financial burden to the institutions. An overwhelming number of schools usually seek the fiscal benefits of students who are in a position of bearing the full cost of their education. Though organizations tasked with providing education services for international students address the issue of the educational, financial burden, it is still a predicament that hinders the successful provision of services.
This brings us to the student recruitment agencies or institutions that some institutions of higher learning use for outreach and recruitment services. Estimates evince that more than twenty thousand recruitment agencies and education consultancies operate worldwide, differing in terms of size, location, and student recruitment specializations. The use of recruitment agencies and education consultancies also varies worldwide. For instance, while most British, Australian and Canadian universities work with international student recruitment agencies and education consultancies, this form of enrollment strategy is far less common in the United States. According to research, roughly one-quarter of institutions in the United States or particular campus programs work with agencies to conduct international student recruitment.
Given that international student recruitment agencies are now operational in various countries, there have been concerns regarding the efficiency and impact of such agencies. For instance, countries are concerned about the several risks to discordant stakeholders inherent in the commission-based international student recruitment. It is such risks that have unearthed cases involving legal action, fraud and financial damage suffered by students among other severe outcomes. While Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd is a reputable recruitment and education consultant agency since its establishment in 2014, the decision to establish a market in Saudi Arabia also entails addressing the issue of the risk of commission-based international student recruitment. Another concern is about the unresolved questions concerning the propriety of organizations issuing per-capita commissions payment for international student enrollments. To be more specific, it is a general concern that very few international students or parents are not aware of these payments, nor are they conversant with the fact that the transactional relationships existing between agencies and institutions of higher learning often dictate the individual programs or campuses that students are allocated.
The risks and concerns have led to institutions of higher learning considering certain processes or strategies before securing the services of international student recruitment agencies. Given that Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd seeks to establish a market in Saudi Arabia, it is paramount that the institution considers takes into account these processes. For instance, the institution should ensure that it adheres to the regulations, laws and quality assurance standards applicable to international student recruitment agencies. Since these regulations tend to change depending on the country of operation, it is vital that Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd meets the rules and regulations applicable in Saudi Arabia if it is to establish a stable market there. Moreover, Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd ought to carry out campus-scans of the current international student support infrastructure and student recruitment practices applicable to the various institutions of higher learning in Saudi Arabia and other Arab speaking countries. Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd is also required to conduct an analysis of anticipated campus impacts.
These are but some of the agency-based international student recruitment strategies that Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd will have to incorporate in its operation in the novel market that it seeks to establish among Arab-speaking nations. This business proposal will explore not only the internal strategies but also the external strategies of fostering the institution’s ‘operations. For instance, the internal aspects of the business proposal will explore the different ways of improving the efficiency of the business by enhancing the availability and accessibility of the website in the language of the customer, as well as, integrating a novel appointment system for the customers. Nonetheless, before developing the internal and external strategies for the successful establishment and operation of Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd in the Arab market, the project will provide a detailed analysis of the industry dynamics, the market trends, as well as, an analysis of its competitors in the new market.
As the demand for cross-border education continues to grow among students, the desire by the prospective host schools and the different governments to welcome these students also continues to grow. It is evident that many institutions of higher learning are formulating international student outreach activities, while other institutions are improving on their already existing efforts. Hosting internationals students is contemplated an opportunity for the institutions to internationalize not only their campuses but also the local communities. Given the growth in demand for cross-border education, many schools engage with third-party, private-sector recruitment agencies such as Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd. The objective of such engagements is for the schools to improve their international student enrollment. The data on the exact number of international students recruitment agencies many be scarce. However, the available states that more than twenty thousand such agencies are operating worldwide.
It is imperative to note that the policies regarding working with international student recruitment agencies vary considerably among universities and colleges, as well as, the host nations. This is to mean that a practice that is common in some parts of the world may not be common in other parts of the world. A good example is the prevalence of international student recruitment agencies in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia with only a quarter of the market in the United States. In this regard, Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd deemed it fit to initiate a new market among the Arab-speaking countries in an effort to expand its recruitment and consultancy services in the Middle East.
Usually, institutions of higher learning partner with recruitment agencies to establish a local presence in specific regions abroad. These regions include the areas that the institutions find it difficult to recruit from directly. The partnerships are also aimed at meeting the attaining the increasing enrollment targets under the limited budgets of the institutions. By establishing a market in Saudi Arabia with the possibility of future expansion into other counties in the Middle East, Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd aims to help institutions recruit international students that would otherwise be difficult if the schools approached them directly.
Notwithstanding, Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd recognizes that the partnership with a recruitment agency is not an inexpensive undertaking, nor is it a scheme to secure quick enrollments. The partnership between institutions of higher learning and international student recruitment agencies to enroll international students can only be a successful endeavor if there is significant human resource and fiscal commitment. This means that if the partnership is commission-based, then the decision should be espoused by broader strategic planning. Moreover, there should be an evaluation of the current enrollment goals and outreach practices of the institutions, as well as, an assessment of the agency’s recruitment in comparison with alternative or complementary strategies.
Since most international student recruitment agencies utilize the commission-based method, it is vital that they acknowledge and address the risks associated with the method to the institutions of higher learning, as well as, the students. The risks inherent to the students include misinformation risk, financial risk and the risk of being referred to a school based not on what is socially and educationally best for them but, rather on what is financially beneficial to the agencies. One would argue that if such agencies deploy such unorthodox motives in their recruitment processes, then the students should pursue other means that do not include agency involvement. Notwithstanding, the individual efforts of such students will still be affected by the activities of the international student recruitment agencies.
Since Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd aims to establish a novel market in Saudi Arabia and other Arab speaking nations, it must address this issue to earn the loyalty of the students in these countries. Ever so often, unscrupulous agencies operating in such a relatively under-regulated domain perpetrate fraud through the embellishment and fabrication of academic records, as well as, other application materials. Consequently, these questionable actions of fraudulent agencies affect the admission opportunities of students trying to obtain places in various institutions of higher learning while following the proper channels and regulations. While the issue of fraud is more or less an internal matter, the public also plays a role in perpetrating this vice. In this regard, Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd must ensure that is guarantees transparent and ethical methods of international student recruitment as it has provided in the countries that currently utilize its services. An incorruptible internal organization is vital to ensure that other students with financial advantage do not benefit at the expense of more deserving students. Needless to say, the parents, despite their urge to secure admissions for their children in prestigious institutions, should adhere to the ethical standards of the international student recruitment agencies and refrain from fostering fraud in such institutions.
Institutions of higher learning are also not exempted from the risks inherent to the fraudulent activities of international student recruitment agencies. Universities and colleges face legal, financial and reputational risks. It is a fact that many institutions have faced legal suits for engaging in the fraudulent admission of students, tainting their renowned good reputations along the way. For instance, one university in the United States in 2012 underwent an audit that evinced significant problems regarding admissions and fabrication of academic reports. This revelation not only brought harm to the good reputation of the university but also ruined the education of the students and the careers of some staff members. One of the recommendations in the audit report was for the institution to saver all its ties to international student recruitment agencies. Another case was reported in Canada in 2014. A Canadian university underwent a C$24 million lawsuit with an international student recruitment agency that was in partnership with the institution suing the school for fraud. The defendants in the case were some individual campus personnel, as well as, the University. These examples serve to reiterate the fact that there is a need to have critical assessment and evaluation procedures in place at Vancouver Today Education Services Ltd in the newly established market if it seeks to form formidable partnerships with various institutions in the Arab-speaking nations.