A groundbreaking report by the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) and BONARD  sheds light on the evolving relationship between US higher education institutions (HEIs) and educational agencies. Based on extensive surveys conducted in 2022, this report provides valuable insights into the current state of international student recruitment in the US. 


Let’s unpack the key findings that highlight the changing landscape and opportunities for collaboration in the education sector.


Dramatic Growth in Partnerships

The report reveals a remarkable increase in the number of US HEIs partnering with educational agencies. According to Patrik Pavlacic, Chief Intelligence Officer at BONARD and the principal investigator for the research project, there has been a “dramatic growth in the number of institutions working with agencies.” The statistics demonstrate that approximately two-thirds (62%) of US HEIs now collaborate with agencies, compared to 49% in 2021. It indicates a sector-wide shift and sets the stage for intense competition among study destinations for student recruitment.


Attributes Valued by Educational Agencies

When evaluating potential partners, educational agencies prioritize two main attributes: academic programs and tuition fees. These considerations outweigh university rankings, emphasizing the importance of program quality and affordability in attracting international students. This insight underscores the need for HEIs to focus on academic excellence and competitive pricing to meet the expectations of agencies and prospective students.


Potential for Future Collaboration

The data also highlights the demand-supply gap, with 29% of educational agencies indicating a lack of sufficient partners in the US. This finding presents a significant opportunity for collaboration between agencies and HEIs in the future. Institutions can explore partnerships to meet the growing demand and leverage the expertise of agencies to enhance their international recruitment efforts.


Optimism and Enrollment Growth

Although enrollment numbers have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels, the report reveals that they have increased compared to the previous year. Responding institutions express optimism about surpassing pre-pandemic figures this year. This positive trend signals the resilience of the education sector and the potential for continued growth in international student enrollment.


Recruitment Strategies and Barriers

Regarding the responsibility for international student recruitment, the majority of respondents (54%) indicated that it lies with the admissions department. However, 21% of institutions manage recruitment through the global education office, while 9% have a dedicated department for this purpose. Virtual and in-person student fairs emerged as the most utilized recruitment events, with 93% and 90% participation rates, respectively.


The report also identifies key barriers to student recruitment, including the cost of studying and living in the US (65%), challenges related to securing visas (53%), scholarship scarcity (27%), the perception of the US (24%), lack of promotional material (20%), and safety concerns (16%). Understanding and addressing these obstacles can help institutions develop targeted strategies to attract a diverse pool of international students.


How can Educli help?

Digital marketing plays a crucial role in recruitment, with 85% of HEIs utilizing this channel. Notably, one-third of institutions rely on third-party management for their digital campaigns. Additionally, having in-country representation is employed by 30% of institutions, highlighting the significance of local connections in international student recruitment.


Educli is a comprehensive platform offers guidance and support to agents, students, and college staff who encounter various challenges in the education sector. The platform addresses key areas such as securing visas, obtaining course information, managing promotional materials, and effectively managing agents.


In conclusion, Educli includes a robust agent management module. College staff can efficiently manage their network of agents, track their performance, and maintain effective communication channels. This feature enables colleges to build strong partnerships with agents, ensuring a smooth and streamlined process for student recruitment and enrolment. 

Source: the Pie news

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