Note: you can click here to view an index of all files in the Resource Library, alphabetical, or use the Categories/Tags on the right to find the related items.

State Dept. Draws Criticism [from AIRC] Over Policy on Paid Recruiters of Foreign Students

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Mitch Leventhal, founder of AIRC, announces at NAFSA that the State Department has overstepped its authority by issuing a policy against paid recruiters of overseas students. Federal law says that government agencies should defer to industry-based standards. Read more in an article by Karin Fischer in the June 2 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

News Reports from the NACAC Commission First Public Hearing

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The US National Association of College Admission Counseling convened its public hearing on the use of recruitment agencies on Monday, March 5, 2012. These two articles summarize comments made to the Commission. AIRC was also able to make comments to the Commission.

Leventhal New York Times Letter to Editor Re Article on Agent Use

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rather than focusing on agents, we need to recognize that higher education represents a huge untapped export opportunity for the United States. The time has come to develop a coordinated national strategy, much like our competitors in Britain and Australia, so that we can maximize our potential. America’s global competitiveness is dependent on its leadership in higher education and research, as well as our successful competition for the world’s best brains.

New York, Feb. 7, 2012

Read the full letter to the editor and original article here.

Council That Certified Overseas Student-Recruiting Agents Proposes Tighter Standards

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights key points of AIRC Standards revision and compliance policies. Read the article and comment here.

The China Conundrum

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In this article published in the New York Times and The Chronicle, the authors describe some challenges created by the sudden and startling uptick in applicants from China that has caused a stir at universities — many of them big, public institutions with special English-language programs — that are particularly welcoming toward international students. Read the article here:

International Recruitment Coverage from the NACAC Conference

Monday, September 26, 2011

Articles covering the NACAC conference held on September 22-24, 2011.


"Admissions Group Wants to Hear All Views on the Ethics of Paying International-Student Recruiting," by Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover, The Chronicle:


"Agents Aren't Going Away," blog entry by Eric Hoover in The Chronicle: 


"Ambivalent on Agents," by Scott Jaschik and Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed,

Green River Community College Draws Foreign Students by Serving as a Gateway to Universities

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Green River Community College, outside Seattle, has built up its foreign enrollments from just 200 in 1993 to more than 1,200 two decades later, 10 percent of the student body. The students come from 40 different countries, including Indonesia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Green River has succeeded overseas by positioning itself as a gateway to highly competitive programs in top universities across the United States.

Agent/Recruiter Arrested: Shenanigans Continue, Inside Higher Ed Blog Post by Phillip G. Altbach, August 9, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"An alarming story from India illustrates the continuing and unending problems monitoring the activities of agents and recruiters working in developing countries for colleges and universities in the United States and elsewhere." Use this link to read the story and post your own comments. 

SUNY Bets Big on Agents

Monday, August 01, 2011

July 26, 2011

NEW YORK CITY – Amid continuing questions about the ethics of using agents to recruit international students, the State University of New York System is moving ahead with an ambitious agency-based recruitment strategy, with the goal of increasing its total foreign student enrollment by more than 13,000 over five years. A portion of new tuition revenue would be used for funding internationalization initiatives – including 3,400 scholarships for study abroad and 125 grants for faculty. Read the full article here.

Agents Unknown, by Scott Jaschik, Insider Higher Ed, July 14, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

One of the heated debates in admissions circles these days is whether American colleges should use agents -- whom the institutions pay in part on commission -- to recruit foreign students. A new study suggests that most Chinese undergraduates in the U.S. used agents in the admissions process  , , , The study may give some ammunition to both sides of the debate over using agents. It found that most of the undergraduates who used them were satisfied with the experience

Read the full article and comment here.

Student Recruiting: The Pitfalls of Moral Absolutism, Worldwise Blog, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mr. Ben Wildavsky writes in part, "I don’t mean to trivialize concerns about agents. But I stand by my view that a “mend it, don’t end it” approach makes sense. Intense admissions marketing and recruiting, with both the character of the student body and big dollars at stake, is a reality, whether or not paid agents are involved. It would be a mistake for NACAC to take an absolutist approach when more nuanced alternatives are available. For instance, there’s the voluntary code of conduct proposed by the American International Recruitment Council, a group of 100-plus U.S. institutions and 32 student recruitment agencies. Read the full article and post comments here.

U.S. Colleges' Appeal Fading for Foreign Students," USA Today, June 23, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

"The United States used to be the destination of choice for young Indonesians and other foreign students seeking a college degree outside their home country. During the past decade, however, the USA has become a harder sell.
Cost, distance and lingering fears about visa denials in the post-9/11 era have helped make the USA less attractive to foreign students, threatening a lucrative market that is a source of brain power and diversity for U.S. colleges." The article also highlights the use of paid agents and quotes AIRC Members Foothill and De Anza Colleges and the University of Cincinnati. Read the full article here.

Engaging With Agents

Thursday, June 23, 2011

By Mitch Leventhal. A commentary in Inside Higher Ed
June 23, 2011

"In their article “The Futility of Pretending to Certify Virtue,” Liz Reisberg and Philip G. Altbach dangerously advocate for the abandonment of the very individuals they are so eager to protect. The growing number of students outside the U.S. seeking an American education must navigate a policy and protocol wilderness filled with obstacles and potentially treacherous paths. And yes, there are wolves lying in wait, intent on profiting from these students’ vulnerability.

However, the course of action being endorsed — the abandonment of commission-based compensation for third-party recruitment or any effort to bring ethical reform and accountability to the practice — is reckless. Neither the existence of recruitment agents nor students’ dependency on them outside the U.S. will end simply by having universities curtail what are legitimate activities. Rather, it will force recruitment underground, leaving students and their families even more vulnerable to exploitation."
Read the full article here.

College Recruiting Goes Overseas, an American Public Media, Marketplace Report

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foreign students pay higher tuition, though some educators see risks if recruiters are paid by commission. Read the transcript or listen to the story here.

International-Student Recruitment Debate: 6 Views on Agents

Friday, June 17, 2011

To help shed light on the controversy over using commission-based agents, The Chronicle asked six education experts for their views. Agents play a much needed role in higher education, and bad practices can be weeded out, argues John Deupree of the American International Recruitment Council.  Read the essays here.

College Group Targets Incentive Payments for International Student Recruiters

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

By Daniel de Vise
An influential college-admissions association is seeking to end the increasingly common practice among colleges of paying international recruiters based on how many foreign students they deliver.View the article here.

Agents, Diversity, Service Learning, Inside Higher Education article, June 6, 2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"The annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference, which concluded Friday, featured a variety of panels on issues pertaining to international student recruitment and admissions, international student advising, and study abroad. Throughout the weeklong conference, the longstanding debate about the ethics of using agents in international recruiting remained in the spotlight, and on Friday panels focused on such subjects as strategies for better supporting gay international students and the growth and academic content of service learning abroad.

The Role of Agents

The ethical debate about the use of agents paid on commission in overseas recruiting was once again a hot item of discussion. Many defenders of the model reacted vehemently to a recent draft policy released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) clarifying that the organization’s ban on its members engaging in incentive-based recruiting would apply at home and abroad."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Colleges' Growing International-Education Efforts Fuel a Quest for More Market Data, Chronicle article, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"College international offices could soon be drowning in data.

Overseas market intelligence, particularly in the area of international-student recruitment, has become an increasingly high-stakes business. That was evident at the annual conference here of Nafsa: Association of International Educators, which wraps up here on Friday.

During the weeklong meeting, the British Council, a British-government-supported educational and cultural agency, rolled out its "education intelligence" service, which will provide detailed information and analysis of trends in global student mobility. Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, a higher-education-consulting company known as QS, announced its "Stars" system, a new institutional rating program for universities."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Debate Over Pay for Overseas Recruiters Heats Up, Chronicle article 5/31/11

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"The long-simmering debate over the ethics of paying overseas student recruiters is threatening to boil over.

American colleges could be forced to choose between contracting with international-recruitment agents, who supporters say are a critical conduit for students in an increasingly crowded global education market, and maintaining their standing in the primary U.S. membership organization for admissions officials. That group, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, released a proposed policy statement last month, which, if approved by its members, would expressly forbid colleges from using commission-based agents to recruit domestically or internationally. Colleges that do could be subject to sanctions.

At the annual meeting here this week of Nafsa: Association of International Educators, the admissions group's potential policy change is being received uneasily by college officials and overseas counselors alike. Hundreds of conferencegoers packed a Tuesday afternoon session on overseas recruiting."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

AIRC Co-Founder Calls for Coordination in U.S. Higher Education Exports, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 22, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How the U.S. Can Stop Hindering Higher-Education Exports

"We need a national export council for higher education—and we need it now.

Education is one of few export sectors where the United States remains the undisputed world leader. The United States is the recipient of about 20 percent of international students who cross national boundaries for education.

Global demand for higher education has never been stronger, and it's still growing. The world's middle class has never been so wealthy, and the United States remains the first-choice study destination. Yet we face stiff competition, and our share of the market has been shrinking.

Now is the time to leverage our colleges to become engines of export and national growth. In fact, not to do so amounts to squandering a great national treasure."

Read the entire article here - and please feel free to comment below also, comments on the original article are preferred.

Holding the Line on Agents, Inside Higher Education article, May 20th, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

"The National Association for College Admission Counseling has long had a policy barring commission payments to anyone for recruiting or enrolling students. The policy is consistent with U.S. law with regard to domestic students -- a statute that was developed in part out of concerns over admissions practices at some for-profit institutions.

The U.S. law doesn't apply to the recruitment of foreign students -- and a growing number of colleges have employed agents, who are paid in part on commission, to recruit abroad. Advocates for the use of agents have been encouraging NACAC to consider differentiating between the recruitment of foreign and domestic students, and permitting commissions for recruiting the former. But NACAC appears headed in the opposite direction. The association's board has released a draft policy revision that clarifies the issue only by being more explicit that the ban on commissions applies whether the recruited students are in the U.S. or abroad."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Collecting Credentials, Study Travel Magazine, April 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"There are numerous affilliations, accredications and certifications available to the study travel advisor. Amy Baker reviews many...."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also:

Commerce Dept. Takes Greater Role in Promoting U.S. Higher Education Overseas, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"This month a delegation of 56 American colleges will visit Indonesia and Vietnam to foster educational and research partnerships with universities in those countries and to expand opportunities for foreign-student recruitment.

The State Department isn't organizing the group, nor is the Department of Education. Instead, the weeklong outreach is being coordinated by the Department of Commerce."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Article in Acrobat PDF format:

No Better Export: Higher Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama, who has emphasized the importance of higher education in our nation, said we must "out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. ... That's how we'll win the future." From my perspective, a crucial element of winning the future is an increased focus on exports—and among our most valuable exports is education.

This week I have been joined by recruiters from 56 colleges and universities across the country, from Columbia University to the University of Texas at San Antonio, for a weeklong education mission to Jakarta, Indonesia, and to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam. The purpose of the trip is to explore opportunities for student recruitment and partnerships with higher-education institutions in those two countries. In each city, we are meeting with students and their families, and the participating American colleges will promote their international-study programs in the United States. We have also organized networking sessions and education symposia to promote university-to-university partnerships, such as faculty exchanges, student exchanges, and research projects.

Why do this? Why now?"

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Standards for Agents - And Colleges, Inside Higher Ed on March 25, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

"For two weeks in February, a lead news story in India was the “sham” Tri-Valley University, and the more than 1,500 Indian students who were deceived and may now be deported from the United States after the Department of Homeland Security closed the California enterprise.

This incident should motivate the U.S. higher education community to examine how an illegitimate organization could have been operating under the moniker “university” for so long and to such a large scale.

Usually, when the terms “foreign students” and “illegitimate” are paired together, it’s in debate over student recruitment services such as agents. What the Tri-Valley incident brings to light is that standards and professionalism are just as urgently needed in our own country, for those providing higher education to foreign students, as they are abroad, for those looking to counsel such students."

Read entire article below - please feel free to comment below also, but commenting on the original article is preferred:

Chronicle of Higher Education Article on Agency Use

Monday, January 31, 2011

The following article may be of interest:

As always your comments are welcome.


John Deupree
Executive Director

AIRC Responds on Agent Discussion

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The attached articles may be of interest:

Last week University World News published an article by American professor Philip G Altbach on the proliferation of third-party recruiters and agents in international higher education. He argued that they have no legitimate role and should be abolished.

The full article can be found here:

In a subsequent interview with Times Higher Education, MITCH LEVENTHAL, AIRC Vice President and Treasurer, said US institutions needed to accept that recruitment agents were "here to stay". You may view this article at the following link:

Full article on the Time Higher Education site

AIRC board members NORM PETERSON, STEPHEN FOSTER and MITCH LEVENTHAL presented a further argument that recruitment agencies are firmly established in a global student market where competition is fierce and America is losing market share. Many other US organisations need to be involved in promoting best practices in international recruitment.

Full article on the University World News site

MATTHEW ULMER of AIRC Certified agency IDP Education provides an additional response noting that it is more effective to sanction unprofessional agents and to encourage best practice than it is to banish proven businesspeople working in an accepted and effective field.

Full article on the University World News site

As always your comments are welcome.


John Deupree
Executive Director

Abolish agents and third-party recruiters - by Philip G Altbach

Thursday, January 20, 2011

by Philip G Altbach
16 January 2011
Issue: 154 

A spectre is now haunting international higher education - the dramatic proliferation of third-party recruiters and agents. Their job is to recruit prospective students in countries that send large numbers of students abroad to study at specific institutions as well as to provide general information about studying abroad. Many officials are authorised by academic institutions in the receiving countries - specifically in the United States, Britain and Australia - to offer admission to students and facilitate their enrolment.

While by no means a new trend, this phenomenon is growing in size, scope and notoriety, as international enrolments have become a compelling part of some universities' bottom lines. The operators, of course, do not work without any source of income. They are paid by the universities that utilise them, usually by providing a fee, based on how many students are enrolled. Sometimes, shockingly, they are also paid by prospective students.

This article has a simple argument that agents and recruiters are impairing academic standards and integrity and should be eliminated or severely curtailed. Providing information to prospective students is fine, but money should not change hands during the admissions process, and universities should not hand the power to admit - after all, a key academic responsibility - to agents or entities overseas.

Full article on the University World News site

New AIRC Award Endowed by Hobsons

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Miami, Florida - December 14th, 2010 - The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) and Hobsons announced plans to establish the Marjorie Peace Lenn Endowment, which will offer an annual award for students studying issues of international education. The endowment, announced at AIRC’s  annual conference, will be administered by AIRC with initial funding by Hobsons in remembrance of Dr. Marjorie Peace Lenn, President of the Center for Quality Assurance in International Education and AIRC Director of Certification, who passed away in October.

Dr. Lenn’s contribution to international education and global quality assurance was unparalleled. She served as the Vice President of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation, was a member of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, founded the Global Alliance for Transnational Education (the first truly global academic quality assurance agency and the National Committee on International Trade in Education, among many other accomplishments. The award will be offered for undergraduate or graduate academic research focused on issues of international trade in educational services or quality assurance in international student mobility. With this award, AIRC is able to foster the development of the next generation of leaders in international education.  Mitch Leventhal, President of AIRC ,  says “AIRC was very honored that Hobsons has recognized Marjorie in this way.  This award will encourage young scholars to focus on issues of trade in educational services and international student mobility, and will serve to recognize new contributions to the field.”

As a provider of international recruitment solutions, Hobsons has followed the work of AIRC closely, serving as a sponsor, applicant for candidacy, and now a donor. The donation is the first of its kind from Hobsons.  “Establishing the Marjorie Peace Lenn Endowment is a rare opportunity for Hobsons to honor the work of a leader in international education and support the work of students,” says Jeremy Cooper, President of Integrated Marketing Solutions at Hobsons.  “The study of issues surrounding student mobility and quality assurance are critical to preparing global citizens and is viewed as indispensible to Hobsons.”

An application and review process for the Marjorie Peace Lenn Endowment is expected by mid-2011, with an initial award to be made at the 3rd Annual AIRC Conference in December 2011.

About Hobsons -

Hobsons is a premier provider of innovative technology and integrated marketing solutions that empower education professionals to manage the entire student lifecycle including recruitment, enrollment, and retention. With end-to-end, enterprise-class products built from over thirty years of education experience and market knowledge, Hobsons helps more than 5,000 global secondary schools, colleges, and universities achieve their goals. A Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) subsidiary, Hobsons is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH with offices in Washington DC; Fairfax, VA; Oakland, CA; London, England; and Melbourne, Australia.

About AIRC -

- Founded in June 2008, the AIRC is a Standards Development Organization (SDO) officially registered with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Its mission is to develop standards of ethical practice pertaining to international student recruitment to American educational institutions and to establish a certification framework for international student recruitment agencies. The AIRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

For additional information, contact: 

John Deupree, Executive Director, AIRC, tel: +1 240 516 8470,,

Download as PDF here.

- END -

From Taboo to Hot Topic

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

in Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2010

In higher education, change rarely happens quickly. Not so when it comes to hiring overseas agencies -- paid by the college in the form of per-student commissions -- to recruit international students. Two years ago the topic was taboo, and few colleges would publicly admit to the practice, which is illegal under U.S. law when it comes to recruiting American students.

Today, while ethical qualms persist, and the debate over the payment of per-student commissions still simmers, it’s nonetheless remarkable the number of colleges that have embraced the recruitment strategy -- and also those that are now willing to at least consider it.


The Rise of the Agent Model

Notice the terminology – the right, i.e. good agent, versus the bad agent. The ability to distinguish the good agents from the bad is the premise of a standards-setting organization like AIRC, which certifies agencies that have successfully completed a process akin to accreditation, complete with self-study and site visit. “This was the missing link,” says John Deupree, AIRC’s executive director. “Before there was no standards process or quality assurance process. In our view, the biggest barrier to the use of agents has been removed.”

To read the rest of the article, go here:

American Colleges Look to Private Sector for Global Recruiting

Monday, May 31, 2010

in The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 30th, 2010

Mitch Leventhal, chair and president of the American International Recruitment Council, says U.S. colleges' slow start may eventually benefit them as they adopt and adapt strategies for overseas-student recruitment. They have the opportunity to learn from other countries' mistakes.

"We may go from being a laggard to an innovator in the space," says Mr. Leventhal, who is also vice chancellor for global affairs for the State University of New York. "We may end up leapfrogging everyone else."

To read the rest of the article, go here:

Global market hots up as US gets its act together

Thursday, May 27, 2010

in Times Higher Education, by John Morgan, May 27, 2010

The growth of an organisation set up to help US institutions compete in the global market could be a sign of the nation's growing interest in overseas students.

The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) this month reached the milestone of 100 institutional members, two years after it was established. It is seeking to "develop standards of ethical practice pertaining to recruitment of international students", and provide "best practices and training to assist overseas student recruitment agents and institutions themselves to better serve students seeking admission".

According to official figures, the US had 623,800 overseas students in 2007-08, compared with 389,330 in the UK. However, a report published last year by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education warns that while the US remains the most popular destination globally, "other countries with more aggressive recruitment strategies have steadily cut into the US market share in the past decade".


To read the rest of the article, go here:

WENR, "The Use of Recruiting Agents in the United States"

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Use of Recruiting Agents in the United States

in World Education New & Reviews, March 2010

"Higher education in the United States has long been attractive to international students, and universities have historically been able to attract those students on little more than name and reputation alone. However, as smaller, less well-known institutions seek to increase their recruiting efforts abroad the name-brand approach has become less viable, especially in the face of increased competition from a growing crop of education-destination countries around the world. As a result, a steadily increasing number of U.S. colleges and universities are employing — or looking to employ — the services of commission-based, in-country recruiting agents, a practice that has, until now, been viewed with considerable skepticism."

To read the rest of the article, go here:

ICEF Bulletin, "US and Australia Usher in New Agent Guidelines"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

US and Australia Usher in New Agent Guidelines

The ICEF Bulletin, Issue #14, March 2010

"In moves that are sure to be closely watched throughout the industry, two of the world's top destinations for international students are in the midst of shaking up how their education providers work with international recruitment agents."

Read more about new agent certification programmes in the US and Australia...

Chronicle of Higher Education, "8 Agencies Are Certified to Recruit Students From Abroad"

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

By Karin Fischer

Eight independent agencies that recruit college students from abroad have passed a rigorous certification process, the American International Recruitment Council, a new standards-setting body, announced this weekend. That is the latest indication of the growing legitimacy of the use of such recruiters by American colleges.

The companies took part in a months-long pilot certification process and....

To read the entire article, click here:

Inside Higher Education, "Sunshine for International Recruiting"

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

by Jack Stripling

...The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) approved standards to certify recruitment agencies in May, and the group is expected to certify some or all of eight pilot agencies, including IDP, at its meeting in Miami, Fla. this week. Certification requires a number of steps, including external reviews, self studies, and the development of improvement plans.

To read the entire article (and lively online debate), click here:

NAFSA: International Educator, "Recruiting's Brave New World"

Friday, October 30, 2009

by Alan Dessoff

International competition for students is heating up world-wide, U.S. colleges and universities are expanding their outreach efforts and some are considering new and sometimes controversial methods.

To download and read the entire article, click here:

Excerpt on AIRC below:

....All that is changing now at Cincinnati and some other universities that have joined AIRC, which will hold its first annual conference December 4–5 in Coconut Grove, Florida. AIRC’s mission is to develop professional standards for international student recruitment and give a certification framework for private agencies that provide advising and application assistance to prospective students for U.S. accredited institutions. Many in the international higher education community are watching it with interest.

As Leventhal, its founding chair and president describes it, AIRC’s agent certification process, which will start officially early next year after a test run underway now with eight agencies, including IDP, will be functionally similar to the quality assurance process that universities go through to gain formal accreditation. “We have modeled this on what we learned about university accreditations,” he says. With intense due diligence, professional development and external site review, it will go “far beyond anything that has been done anywhere else in terms of qualifying agents.”

To download and read the entire article, click here:

The Chronicle of Higher Education, "State Department Issues Guidance on Student-Recruitment Agents"

Friday, September 04, 2009

By Karin Fischer

The State Department has waded into the contentious issue of international student recruitment, issuing policy guidance that bars its EducationUSA advising centers from forming partnerships with commercial recruiting agents who have contracts to represent specific American universities....

Read rest of article here:

Excerpt on AIRC below:

Mitch Leventhal, president of the American International Recruitment Council, a year-old group that has developed standards of ethical practices and a system for certifying overseas recruiters, said the State Department notice unfairly tars all commercial recruiting agencies. For example, said Mr. Leventhal, who is vice provost for international affairs at the University of Cincinnati, reputable agents work hard to match students with the college that will fit their academic and social needs, not just those with which they have recruitment contracts.

Mr. Leventhal praised EducationUSA offices as "vital" to attract overseas students to American universities, but said that, in a heated global market, third-party agents are needed to help supplement those efforts. In the current economy, in-country agencies may become even more critical, as tight budgets limit the number of recruitment trips university administrators can take abroad.

Mr. Leventhal said he expected that the policy statement would have little actual impact on practices, as many EducationUSA offices already prevent outside recruiters from representing American universities at college fairs or other events.

Still, Mr. Leventhal said, he was disappointed in the tone of the guidance. "I don't think the government should be directing students to agents," he said. "But they should support the development of ethical standards and practices for agents."

Times Higher Education, "US is poised to stop worrying and embrace overseas agents"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

By Phil Baty

World's largest offshore recruiter may cast off doubts as market hots up, writes Phil Baty

The US is poised to seize an even greater share of the lucrative international student market as its universities wake up to the potential of using overseas recruiting agents.

A report this week from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education says that the US has established itself as the world's largest recruiter of international students without any help from the agents that its rivals have long relied upon.

But the report states that the "tide may be about to turn" and the US could be set to embrace agents for the first time...

Inside Higher Education, "Not-So-Secret Agents"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By Elizabeth Redden

American colleges seem increasingly willing to at least try out the use of agents in recruiting international students, and a series of events at the recent NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference only reinforced that reality. However, a serious debate still simmers about whether the use of agents best serves the interests of students, and a schism exists between those in international education who promote the practice and those in admissions who continue to reject the notion of incentive- or commission-based overseas recruiting on ethical grounds...

Inside Higher Education, "Group for International Student Recruiters Moves Forward"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A fledgling group designed to represent the interests but also certify the work of international student recruiters took more formal shape Tuesday. The American International Recruitment Council announced at the annual conference of NAFSA....

Chronicle of Higher Education, "Council Promotes Ethical Guidelines for Student-Recruitment Agents"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By Karin Fischer

The use of paid recruiting agents may be taking a step into the mainstream of international education, as a new nonprofit group, the American International Recruitment Council, adopted on Tuesday new standards of ethical practices and a system for certifying overseas recruiters...

Cincinnati Magazine, "International Harvester: UC’s Mitch Leventhal is showing American universities how to go global"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

by Melissa Davis Haller

From the article:

"Under Leventhal’s watch, UC has become the first large public research university to openly employ the practice (many smaller schools have quietly done it for years, he claims); he’s now the de facto national spokesperson on the issue, quoted everywhere from The New York Times to The Times of India. And in 2007, he established the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) to develop standards of ethical practice, including a certification framework for recruiters. So far, three dozen schools, including Ohio University, have signed on as founding members."  Read entire article

Gazeta da Serra (Brazil), "Universidades dos EUA 'recrutam' brasileiros"

Saturday, January 10, 2009


"Hoje, 3,5% dos alunos de graduação nos EUA vêm de fora do país. "A média ideal é de 10% para que os estudantes americanos aprendam sobre outras culturas e façam contatos que serão importantes no futuro", diz Mitch Leventhal, presidente do conselho e da Universidade de Cincinnati (Ohio)."

Inside Higher Education, "‘Accreditation Lite’ for International Recruiting Agents"

Monday, January 05, 2009

by Elizabeth Redden


In the realm of international student recruiting, “A lot of agents will just send out blanket e-mails to universities saying, ‘Oh, I would like to be your representative,’ ” says Sabine Klahr, director of international programs at Boise State University. “We don’t answer those e-mails typically."

“There are no standards at this point,” Klahr explains. “You could work with agents throughout the world who are not" -- she pauses, searching for the right word -- "they are not reputable business people, essentially. How do you know that you can trust them?”

Klahr’s question forms the foundation for the American International Recruitment Council. Incorporated as a nonprofit organization last summer and now counting 35 colleges as institutional members (including Boise State), the council is rapidly moving forward with developing standards and an “accreditation lite” procedure for certifying reputable international recruiting agents.... Read more

The Economist, "The Americans are coming: The next big shake-up of the global higher education business"

Monday, December 29, 2008


"...the market in international students will be transformed. A survey carried out by i-graduate, a market-research firm, found that although few agents recommended American institutions to their clients, most wanted to. “Agents said the United Kingdom was the country in which they placed the most students,” according to Will Archer, the firm’s director. “But they said the country in which they would most like to place students was the United States.” Those agents rated America as most desirable for undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA courses, leaving Britain in the lead only for language and foundation courses, and Australia only for vocational ones.

Mr Leventhal insists that there are lots of students to go round. But he concedes that academics in other countries are not thrilled by the American plans. “Their hair is on fire,” he says. “They’re saying, ‘Oh my God, the Americans have finally figured it out, they’re going to kill us.’ ”

Chronicle of Higher Education, "New Group Aims to Apply Standards to International-Student Recruitment Agents"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

by Beth McMurtrie

Times Higher Education (London), "Recruitment fight to hot up as US turns to global agents"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

by John Gill


"The US is losing out because it is not adopting 21st-century marketing practices; we're just not competing. I was hired by Cincinnati on the understanding that I would have the ability to explore moving in that direction, but that required a significant sell," Dr. Leventhal said.

Insisting that the US should not try to reinvent the wheel, he suggested that it adapt the Australian model to fit its existing systems. To this end, he and like-minded colleagues have set up the American International Recruitment Council to professionalise the practice.

"Until now, most US institutions working with agents have been sneaking around, looking over their shoulders, afraid that they are going to be exposed and sanctioned.

"Because they have been so paranoid about this, people haven't been sharing best practice - now we need to bring this out into the open because the appetite is huge."

The US, he said, had been resting on its laurels since the early 1990s, and while he acknowledged that rivals, including the UK, might view the increased competition with trepidation, he pointed out that cross-border education was "a big and growing pie".

He said: "If the US starts to market aggressively then our growth will pick up again, but the market globally is big enough and growing fast enough that we can all grow."