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  • 1. DEPArTMEnT of EDucATion, TrAininG AnD EmploymEnTQueensland VET SectorInternational EducationAgent ManagementA Best Practice Guide forAgent Management Department of Education, Training and Employment Queensland Government Australia
  • 2. TAFE Queensland internationalDepartment of Education, Training and EmploymentEducation House30 Mary StreetBrisbane Qld 4000PO Box 15033City East Qld 4002EmAil: TAFEQueenslandinternational@deta.qld.gov.auWEB: http://training.qld.gov.au/internationalDecember 2011
  • 3. Queensland VET SectorInternational EducationAgent Management International Education: Best Practice Guide Series Department of Education, Training and Employment Queensland Government, Australia
  • 4. Acknowledgments The International Education Agent Management Best Practice Guide (the ‘Guide’) has been developed by the International Education Resources Group for the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment. Copies of the Guide and associated resources are available on the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment website at http://training.qld.gov.au/information/tafe-qld- international/best-practice-guides.html. Requests for Information This Guide contains ideas and examples of recognised industry good practice in international education agent management. It has been developed in good faith to support the Queensland VET sector and is intended for use as a source of ideas and options that can be adapted and customised for a provider’s unique situation. The Queensland Government disclaims all responsibility and all liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information in this Guide being inaccurate or incomplete in any way, or from the use of, or reliance on, this material. Disclaimer By their very nature, Best Practice Guides are a work in progress. They are a snapshot in time of how providers are dealing with a topic and/or market opportunity. It is not possible to capture every detail regarding the subject or every provider’s experience. As a dynamic industry resource your ongoing submissions, contributions and ideas are welcomed – please email us at TAFEQueenslandinternational@ deta.qld.gov.au.2 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 5. Industry ContributionsTAFE Queensland International wishes to acknowledge the valuable insight of the registered trainingorganisations (RTOs), education agents and other industry experts in Queensland that provided input intothis Guide. These include: • AMET Education • AusEd Brisbane • Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) • CHARLTON BROWN® • City Smart Education • Gold Coast Institute of TAFE • IDP Brisbane • International Education Services (IES) • Marlin Overseas Student Agency • Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE • Migration Institute of Australia • Queensland Education and Training International (QETI) (now known as International Education and Training Unit within the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)) • Sarina Russo Schools Australia • Shafston • Southbank Institute of Technology • Think Education Group • Viva College International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 3
  • 6. Table of Contents Acknowledgments 2 Requests for Information 2 Disclaimer 2 SECTION ONE: AGENTS AND THE AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION SECTOR 6 1. Introduction 7 1.1. Aim of the Guide 7 1.2. The Approach 8 1.3. How to Use this Guide 8 2. What is an International Education Agent? 8 2.1. Types of International Education Agents 9 3. Why Use an International Education Agent? 10 3.1. Reasons to Partner with International Education Agents 10 3.2. Reasons not to Partner with International Education Agents 10 4. Agent Regulation and Control 11 4.1. ESOS Act and the National Code 11 4.2. Education Agents Peak Professional Body 13 4.3. Additional References and Resources 14 5. Managing Agents in Turbulent Times 14 5.1. Potential Risks 15 5.2. Due Diligence and Monitoring 16 5.3. Managing Change Effectively 16 6. Strategically Managing Your Business 18 SECTION TWO: THE AGENT MANAGEMENT PROCESS 19 1. Best Practice in Agent Management 19 1.1. Steps in Agent Management 19 2. Identifying Agents 20 2.1. Market Alignment 20 2.2. Agent Alignment 21 2.3. Sources of Agent Contacts 23 3. Appointing Agents 25 3.1. Application Process 25 3.2. Agent Management Models 28 3.3. Contracting Agents 32 4. On-going Agent Management – Relationship Building 35 4.1. Ongoing Agent Management 35 4.2. Communication 37 4.3. Marketing and Promotion 39 4.4. Record Keeping 40 4.5. Managing Issues 41 5. Review of Agents 42 6. Exit Strategies 42 6.1. Non-Compliance 444 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 7. SECTION THREE: PROVIDER TOOLS AND TEMPLATES 461. Sample Education Agent Code of Conduct 472. Sample Agent Appointment Monitoring and Termination Policy 48 1. Purpose 48 2. Scope 48 3. Definitions 48 4. Actions 48 5. Agent Performance Appraisal 49 6. Re-appointment of an Agent 49 7. Termination of an Agent 49 8. References 50 9. Forms/Record Keeping 513. Sample Application for Consideration to be Appointed as an Education Agent 52 1. Sample of an Application Letter 56 2. Sample of Provider Information (International Prospectus) 57 3. Example of an Educational Referee Report 58 4. Example of a Student Referee Report 59 5. Process Checklist: New Agent Application 60 6 Example of Rejection Letter 61 7. Example of Education Agent Acceptance Letter 62 8. Sample Agent Contract 62 9. Example of Education Agent Certificate of Appointment 74 10. Example of Order Form for Promotional Materials 75 11. Example of Agents Manual Contents – Version 1 76 12. Sample Agents Manual Contents (ISANA Report) -Version 2 77 13. Sample of Agent Database / Register 78 14. Sample of an Agent Annual Communication Plan 79 15. Sample of Performance Review of Agent Template 80 16. Example of an Renewal of Education Agents Contract Letter 81 17. Example of Non-Renewal of Contract Letter 82 18. Example of Letter of Termination 834. Appendices 84 List of Acronyms 84 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 5
  • 8. SECTION ONE: AGENTS AND THE AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION SECTOR6 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 9. 1. IntroductionThe global mobility of students has increased at a rapid rate. Over the past three decades the number ofinternational students quadrupled, from 0.8 million (1975) to 3.3 million (2008).1 Since the late 1990s,growth has accelerated. In 2008 alone growth was 11 per cent on the previous year.2 Should currenttrends in international enrolments continue it is expected that between 4.1 million and 6.7 millionstudents will be studying abroad by the year 2020.3 Australia’s share of the global international studentmarket is between 7 and 8 per cent.Education is Australia’s third largest export industry and Australia’s largest service export, ahead oftourism.4 The value to the Australian economy of education exports in 2009–10 was $19.1 billion, anincrease of 10.2 per cent on 2008–09. Educational services have grown to become Australia’s largestservices export industry ahead of other personal travel services ($12.1 billion) and professional andmanagement consulting services ($3.1 billion). In 2010 over 619,000 international students from morethan 100 countries were enrolled to study in Australian institutions. The majority was in higher education(39 per cent) and vocational education and training (VET) (34 per cent).Australian institutions actively use an extensive network of commercial agents within target marketsto promote their offerings and to recruit international students. Over 40 per cent of commencinginternational students are engaged or introduced through an agent of one kind or another.5 The useof agents has been a hallmark of Australian international education and has been instrumental inAustralia’s outstanding commercial success. In 2010-11 the Australian international education sectorexperienced its first significant downturn and as such providers have needed to reassess the role anduse of agents in their recruitment strategies.In order to maintain market share and growth in the Australian VET sectors internationally, educationproviders need to be increasingly savvy in their approach to business development. Internationaleducation agents play a significant role in the international education sector. In fact, InternationalBenchmarking research conducted by Alan Olsen in 2008 indicates that on average over 50 per cent ofstudent enrolments were referred by international education agents to the Queensland public VET sectorin that year. Working effectively and efficiently with agents will be crucial to ensuring the Queensland VETsector can sustain and increase its share of the international education market.1.1. Aim of the GuideTAFE Queensland International has commissioned this research into agent good practice and preparedthis Guide in order to assist Queensland VET providers in building their capacity and effectively partneringinternational education agents.The specific aims of the research are to: • better understand good practice in agent management and share the findings with education providers and international education agents so Queensland can continue to improve operations • build a better understanding of the roles and activities that both providers and agents play in the international education industry.1 OECD (2010). Education at a Glance, p. 32.UNESCO (2009) estimates a total of 2.8 million international students globally in 2007. While estimates may vary, being based on different parameters, the overall trend towards significant continuing growth is evident.2 OECD (2010).Education at a Glance, p. 32.3 Calderon, A. (2010).Emerging countries for student recruitment in tertiary education.Paper presented to the IMHE-OECD Conference, Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly: Doing More with Less, Paris September 2010, p. 6.4 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010).(ABS Catalogue no. 5368.0.55.004).Note: Includes international students studying onshore on student visas only. Export income does not include income generated by the operation of offshore campuses of Australian institutions.5 Olsen, A. SPRE, (2009) International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 7
  • 10. Based on the research this Guide has been developed to provide practical tools and techniques for providers to work more effectively together with agents to continue to achieve significant growth for the Queensland and Australian international education industry. 1.2. The Approach The approach and initial research to inform this guide was undertaken in 2009. The outcome of the research was the 2009 Agent Management Best Practice Guide, that has been very well received and highly utilised across the sector. Since this time there have been a number of changes in market conditions that have resulted in the need to review the currency and relevance of the guide content. This Guide represents an updated version of the original and provides additional and current references and resources to ensure providers maintain efficient practices. To ensure the current edition is timely and relevant the following approach was used to inform its development. Phase One: Desk Research This phase aimed to identify current practice and process in effective international education agent management through desk research. A range of articles, presentations, conference papers and international education providers’ web sites were reviewed to determine processes. Current legislation was also reviewed so that the requirements needed to inform policies and procedures were noted. Phase Two: Interviews with Targeted VET Providers and Agents Based on the research above, a discussion framework was developed for phone interviews with a targeted group of VET providers in Queensland. The targeted providers covered those at various stages of their internationalisation. The interviews aimed to identify: current agent management practice for VET providers in Queensland and what providers felt was needed to advance or improve their agent management activities. Providers were also asked to provide examples of forms, processes and resources that could be used to inform the creation of the Provider Templates found in Section Three. Phase Three: Report Preparation and Review Based on the outcomes from Phase One and Two the final report was prepared for feedback from key stakeholders. The final publication is this International Education Agent Management Best Practice Guide 2011. 1.3. How to Use this Guide This Guide has been developed in three sections: • Section One provides an overview of the international and domestic market to provide context. • Section Two outlines the steps of best practice in education agent management. • Section Three provides a set of tools, templates and resources providers can contextualise to their specific business needs. Depending on your needs, you can work through the Guide or simply choose relevant sections. Each section includes case studies to provide further information and practical examples. 2. What is an International Education Agent? An international education agent is often seen as a bridge between the many people involved in international education– including students, parents, providers and home-stay families –providing a pivotal link between them. Agents can be found across the world with many offering services to the full range of providers including language schools (ELICOS), schools, VET providers and higher education institutions. The specific activities of an agent vary based on provider and student needs, but their core activities are generally targeted towards students and providers as follows in Table 1.8 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 11. Table 1: Core International Education Agents’ Services Targeted to Students Targeted to Education Providers • Providing information on the range of education • Recruiting suitable students for the provider options, courses and pathways • Processing student applications • Providing information on the preferred countries – travel, lifestyle, etc. • Offering a translation service • Providing market intelligence on changes to demand • Providing education counselling for students to for courses ensure the most appropriate course selection • Marketing and promoting education providers • Processing applications to education providers • Student-related administration • Processing visa applications • Supporting students while in AustraliaThe education agent industry is not regulated in Australia. Agents are not required to be a member of anyparticular body, or have any specific training or minimum business requirements. However, there are anumber of quality controls and systems that can assist providers in determining whether they should enterinto a partnership with a particular agent. More detail on this can be found in the Due Diligence sectionof this Guide. It should be noted that an education agent that is not a registered migration agent cannotprovide migration advice to a student but can provide advice regarding student visa types.2.1. Types of International Education AgentsThere are two key types of education agents. These are: • inbound student agents • partnership agents.Inbound Student AgentsInbound student agents focus on recruiting students to study in Australia. These agents may be basedeither in Australia or offshore or they may have branches in a number of locations. Many agents provideservices to a number of clients in markets across the world. Most often inbound student agents work on acommission per student recruited.Providers should be aware that some agents may use the services of a sub-agent – that is, an agentthat feeds students through a lead agent to a provider. As the National Code of Practice for RegistrationAuthorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code) prescribesthat all providers must have a written agreement with an agent, providers should seek clarification from anyagent if this is practice and how the process is managed. This can be clarified during the agent applicationstage.While not common, some agents may request to be a sole/exclusive agent in a particular market. Providersshould carefully consider the pros and cons of such an agreement and ensure they are not limiting theiroptions.Partnership Agents/Business BrokersThese agents focus on developing partnership programs between international providers and/or industry.Often these agents work on a retainer or commission per project. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 9
  • 12. Migration Agents vs. Education Agents A migration agent is an individual who has met the minimum requirements to be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). This registration allows them to legally provide immigration assistance and advice. For more information and a list of Australian registered migration agents visit https://www.mara.gov.au. Many migration agents also offer the services of an international education agent and vice versa. Agents with both the education and migration skill and knowledge in their organisation may add value to an agency partnership. Providers should ensure they understand the primary focus of the agency and their strengths as different management styles and approaches may be needed for agents with different skill sets. For example, a migration agent may need more support in educational knowledge, such as knowledge of Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) or the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000. 3. Why Use an International Education Agent? The international education agent industry is highly competitive and working with a good agent can be very lucrative for an education provider. While this is the case, the decision to employ an education agent should be considered carefully to ensure agents are used most effectively for your organisation. There are a number of reasons you may consider using an education agent and a number of reasons you may not. These are described below. 3.1. Reasons to Partner with International Education Agents • Agents can provide innovative marketing and promotional ideas that may be highly relevant to the target country. • Agents with offices or contacts in offshore markets can provide first-hand information on trends and opportunities. • Agents with offshore offices can provide on-ground support and thus reduce the need to travel as frequently to markets, reducing the overall business development costs and increasing profitability. • Agents provide local expertise and have local language and cultural understanding and knowledge. • Agents can provide access to high-risk markets that may be costly, difficult or dangerous to access. • Agents can provide a one-stop-shop for students, which may increase students’ overall satisfaction with the experience. 3.2. Reasons not to Partner with International Education Agents • Agents are not regulated in Australia and as such a greater onus is on the provider to select quality agents. • Under the ESOS Act there is a requirement to manage agents and adhere to minimum management requirements, using staff resources that could be used for other activities. • The industry standard commissions paid to agents are significant and providers need to assess these costs against direct student recruitment. • Agents are placed in a position of considerable power, being the business development arm for your organisation, and therefore providers need to manage and control their activities. • There is potential for providers to be targeted by agents that employ illegal and/or unscrupulous practices, so considerable due diligence is required.10 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 13. 4. Agent Regulation and Control4.1. ESOS Act and the National CodeThe National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Educationand Training to Overseas Students 2007The National Code as it relates to the use of education agents requires that providers: • use education agents with an appropriate knowledge and understanding of the Australian international education industry • enter into a written agreement with agents you engage to formally represent you • ensure your education agents have access to up-to-date and accurate marketing information • do not accept students from, or enter into an agreement with, any agent you suspect to be engaging in dishonest practices • terminate an agreement if you become aware that your agent is acting dishonestly or unethically • take immediate corrective or preventative action if you become aware of any form of unprofessional activity by your agent.2010 Amendments to the ESOS ActIn 2010, following a review of the ESOS Act, new regulations were introduced in order to improve theaccountability in the use of agents. Under the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment(Re-registration of Providers and Other Measures) Act 2010, providers are required to ‘maintain on theirwebsite a list of all persons (whether within or outside Australia) who represent or act on their behalf indealing with overseas students or intending overseas students’.Further proposals were outlined in the ESOS Act review and, if introduced, providers will need to comply.Providers will need to keep abreast of these possible changes in the future. Suggested amendmentsinclude: • holding providers more accountable for agents –providers could be fined if their offshore agents act unethically • banning Australian-based agents from charging commissions for luring students from one local college to another • banning providers from paying commissions to agents unless they disclose the identity of the agents and their commission arrangements to both students and regulators • implementing a ‘unique identifier’ to track the colleges attended by each student • taking some form of direct regulatory action against offshore agents, such as preventing them from applying for visas on behalf of their clients, if they fail to meet legislative requirements.The Government’s final position on the regulatory changes will be informed by proposed consultation andthe feedback received. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 11
  • 14. POLICY - Standard 4 – Education Agents National Code, Standard 4 (Education Agents): Registered providers take all reasonable measures to use education agents that have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of the Australian international education industry and do not use education agents who are dishonest or lack integrity. 4.1 The registered provider must enter into a written agreement with each education agent it engages to formally represent it. The agreement must specify the responsibilities of the education agent and the registered provider and the need to comply with the requirements in the National Code. The agreement must also include: a. processes for monitoring the activities of the education agent, including where corrective action may be required, and b. termination conditions, including providing for termination in the circumstances outlined in Standard 4.4. 4.2 The registered provider must ensure that its education agents have access to up-to-date and accurate marketing information as set out in Standard 1 (Marketing information and practices). 4.3 The registered provider must not accept students from an education agent or enter into an agreement with an education agent if it knows or reasonably suspects the education agent to be: a. engaged in, or to have previously been engaged in, dishonest practices, including the deliberate attempt to recruit a student where this clearly conflicts with the obligations of registered providers under Standard 7 (Transfer between registered providers). b. facilitating the enrolment of a student who the education agent believes will not comply with the conditions of his or her student visa c. using Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS) to create Confirmations of Enrolment for other than a bona fide student, or d. providing immigration advice where not authorised under the Migration Act 1958 to do so. 4.4 Where the registered provider has entered into an agreement with an education agent and subsequently becomes aware of, or reasonably suspects, the engagement by that education agent, or an employee or sub-contractor of that agent, of the conduct set out in Standard 4.3, the registered provider must terminate the agreement with the education agent. This paragraph does not apply where an individual employee or sub-contractor of the education agent was responsible for the conduct set out in Standard 4.3 and the education agent has terminated the relationship with that individual employee or sub- contractor. 4.5 The registered provider must take immediate corrective and preventative action upon the registered provider becoming aware of an education agent being negligent, careless or incompetent or being engaged in false, misleading or unethical advertising and recruitment practices, including practices that could harm the integrity of Australian education and training.12 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 15. 4.2. Education Agents Peak Professional BodyPrior to 2011 there was no formal monitoring or control of international education agents at a systemiclevel; the onus was on the provider to ensure an agent’s standing. In April 2011 the Migration Institute ofAustralia (MIA) extended membership in the peak body for the migration advice profession to qualified,registered education agents. It is not mandatory for an agent to be a member of MIA. Membership, however,could be used as one of the criteria to determine if an agent is a suitable partner.The MIA has established a Code of Ethics for Affiliate Education Agents. This Code describes therequirements that agents must adhere to in order to hold membership. Affiliates must agree to: • continually strive towards lifting the standard of education Agents within the Australian and international communities • act at all times in a manner that upholds and enhances the integrity and dignity of those working within the international education environment • be open and honest with clients at all times in regards to the scope of services available • inform their clients that as per the Migration Act, they cannot provide migration advice (unless also registered as a Migration Agent) • commit to ongoing professional development throughout their career and actively assist and encourage their fellow members to advance their professional knowledge and experience • comply with the relevant Acts, Regulations and MIA Code of Conduct when dealing with clients • make no representation regarding the provision of services that are false or misleading and to fully disclose all applicable charges for services, as well as the scope of the services to be provided prior to engaging a client • recognise and respect the rights, dignity and individuality of all persons. A member shall not discriminate or knowingly permit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability • avoid conflicts of interest at all times with regard to professional activities, financial considerations or other interests. At such time as a member becomes aware that an actual, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, the member must make a full disclosure to the appropriate parties.For more information visit: http://mia.org.au/educationagent/.Agents have also established professional peak bodies within their own countries. Each of theseprofessional bodies has its own code of ethics and can be used as a tool in collecting due diligenceinformation. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 13
  • 16. 4.3. Additional References and Resources As shown in Table 2, a number of publications and resources have been developed to assist providers to understand and implement the requirements under the ESOS Act and National Code. Table 2: Agent Management Resources Publication Source Education Agents Manual International Student Association New Zealand http://www.isana.org.au/files/EducationAgentsManual.pdf and Australia (ISANA) Best Practice in Education Agent Management Victorian TAFE International (VTI) http://www.aei.gov.au/Regulatory-Information/Pages/Regulatoryinformation.aspx Using Education Agents, A guide for providers of education and training to overseas Department of Education, students Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) http://www.pieronline.org/_Upload/Files/Using_Education_Agents_pdf.pdf National Code Explanatory Guides Australian Education International (AEI) http://www.aei.gov.au/Regulatory-Information/Pages/Regulatoryinformation.aspx 5. Managing Agents in Turbulent Times In 2010 the Australian international education sector experienced its first significant downturn. Figures reported by providers range from a 10 to 30 per cent reduction in student enrolments in 2010 alone. The downturn has been attributed to a combination of external factors such as; • the global financial crisis, • increased international competition and the appreciation of the Australian dollar, • and domestic factors such as changes to student visa requirements, student safety concerns, changes to the skilled migration program and the commercial failure of a number of colleges. Reports indicate that the impact of the downturn was felt across the whole sector and is continuing to be felt. In turbulent times providers many need to place greater emphasis on: • being aware of possible risks and unethical practices • ensuring effective due diligence and monitoring processes are in place • managing change effectively.14 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 17. 5.1. Potential RisksThe relationship between economic downturn and increased illegal activities is well reported. While weknow most agents are honest, reliable and are looking for a mutually rewarding partnership, it is morelikely in difficult times for individuals to take advantage and attempt to gain from illegal behavior. As suchit is advisable for providers to make themselves aware of possible illegal practices that could affect theirbusiness and have strategies in place to pre-empt these. It should also be noted that these activities canoccur from inside your organisation as well as outside. The set of case studies below provides a goodsummary of possible fraudulent activities that have been reported across the sector. CASE STUDY : Examples Of Rouge Agent Activity International Draft Scam – A prospective international student approached a provider to enrol as a student. An international draft for tuition fees was forwarded, payable to the provider. The draft was banked. A number of days later the international student contacted the provider advising that due to a family tragedy they would no longer be able to attend the provider and consequently requested a refund of the fees already paid (the figure was close to $10,000). The staff became suspicious and looked into the request. Meanwhile the bank contacted the provider to advise that the draft had been dishonoured and appeared to be fraudulent. Clearly the intent was to have received the refund prior to the provider being notified of the fraudulent draft. Web Scams – In Country Y, where Provider X was operating, an agent set up a website with the URL http://www. providerX.countryY.com. The website linked directly to the agent’s own website. Suddenly the other agents in Country Y started to complain because it looked like this was the ‘official website of Provider X’, directing the enquiries straight to the agent. The other agents assumed the agent was getting preferential treatment but in fact he had simply purchased the URL and used it for his own purpose. There is nothing illegal in his action. It does, however, compromise Provider X who went to great lengths to ensure the agent change the website and stop using the provider name in the URL. The agent complied and they are still partners. Another agent set up a website using information and logos of multiple Universities creating the impression that this agent represents these institutions. None of the Universities have a formal relationship with this agent. Because the agent is not an authentic agent, there is little the Universities can do about the problem. It has proven difficult to protect the logos from being downloaded or used in electronic forms. Double Dipping Scam – An agent was accused of double dipping on commissions. He sent a second invoice for the same student, in the same course. The provider had a system of paying on invoices for multiple students with a grand total. They did not have a clear way of recording against the student’s name what was paid and when. The second commissions were paid. The agent did it accidentally in the first instance but when it wasn’t discovered they tried again successfully and then, of course, it became a lucrative habit. It was exacerbated by the fact that sometimes the invoices would arrive months after the student had commenced and the provider was not good at tracking its payments over time. A response to this was to set up a new system with a unique invoice number for each student. This has resolved the problem. The provider was also concerned that perhaps one of the staff who had sole responsibility for paying commissions may have been working by prior arrangement with the agent. An audit by an outside consultant identified that a key risk to the Provider was having a single person responsible for this commission payment task. Conflict of Interest – A Provider’s marketing staff person asked permission to sign up a close relative as an agent. At no stage did they alert the Provider that the agent was related to them even though the agent was operating in their marketing region and there was a conflict of interest. The scam was discovered but the staff person claimed to be innocent of all knowledge of how this could have happened and told a range of increasingly unbelievable stories around the matter, consistently denying a conspiracy. Only after extensive investigation and confrontation, involving the Provider’s Human Resources section, the Unions and provision of irrefutable written evidence did the staff person accept there was something untoward. At this point, even though the saga had drawn out over two months, the person’s last resort was to claim that the relative had misled them and that they were shocked and appalled. The staff person was married to the agent and lived with them at the business address. Theft – An agent took a non-refundable up front payment from all students for the services that the universities provide free –for example, airport pickup, orientation and accommodation support. Modified from Scams and Scammers: Agents and the International Office. A Cautionary Tale, Virginia Pattingale, http://www.aiec.idp.com/pdf/Paper_Pattingale.pdf International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 15
  • 18. 5.2. Due Diligence and Monitoring The process of conducting due diligence and ongoing monitoring and evaluation are a feature of this Guide. Section Two of this document provides detailed processes and questions for providers to support their agent selection and management. In addition to this resource, providers can also refer to the Partnership Due Diligence Best Practice Guide. 5.3. Managing Change Effectively The aim of this Guide is to provide strategies and tools to ensure your systems and processes are the most efficient and effective they can be. Even if you adopt and apply all the best practice ideas outlined, at times your business will be exposed to economic and social conditions that are outside your control. As such, providers will need strategies to ensure your business can be sustained through changing conditions. In turbulent times providers should focus attention on activities such as: Agent Mix • Review the number of agents you have on your books and your ability to effectively service these. It might be that you need to reduce the number of agents you have and provide more focused attention to a few. • Which agents are you working with that provide the best returns and outcomes? Consider the 80/20 rule and actively work with your top agents to ensure their needs are met and they are satisfied. • Review the role and services an agent offers. Market Strategies • Review your market diversification. It is important to get the right balance between having sufficient source markets to generate enrolments and your ability to service them. Service Levels • Ensure your service levels for administration and course delivery remain very high. Agents will be more demanding of providers and be looking for the best product and offering for their clients. By maintaining and ensuring a high quality the reputation of your brand is retained, which will support future enrolments. Coordinating with Agents • Invite your agents in and discuss the current environment. Consider mutual ways you can work collaboratively to maintain business. • Ensure you maintain regular and engaging communication with your agents. Communication is key to any relationship and a solid relationship will lead to enrolments. If face-to-face communication is prohibitive due to cost, consider lower cost communication channels such as social networking platforms, Skype and email. Consider Pricing Strategies • Carefully consider your pricing strategies. In poor economic times discounting is often used to attract business. While this may help business initially it potentially can reduce the perceived value of your courses and services. • Monitor your commission rates and negotiate these wisely. As part of your negotiation with agents you may consider increasing your commission provided to agents to be competitive. It is very difficult to reduce commissions once you have increased it. It may be more appropriate to consider other incentives. Providing part scholarship per x enrolments may be a low cost option if your fixed costs are met for a particular course.16 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 19. Creative Promotion Strategies • Consider joint promotions with other providers in a promotion consortium to reduce marketing costs. This could include shared offshore agents visits.Monitor and Review • It is important to use monitoring activities to know your position and adjust your strategies as required.Section Two of this Guide provides detail on these activities and a step-by-step guide to managingyour agents. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 17
  • 20. 6. Strategically Managing Your Business Strategic management is a key element in the success of any business or project. The purpose of this Guide is to provide practical advice and tools to optimise the provider–agent relationship. It is important to understand your organisational objectives, operating environment, and identifying strategic activities. This understanding leads to establishing a transparent document that can be adopted by the whole institution to drive successful provider–agent projects. Identifying, appointing and managing agents should be identified as a key strategic activity for your organisation. Figure 1: Agent Management within a Strategic Framework IDENTIFY AGENTS based on › Organisational Objectives › Market Objectives ORGANISATION INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN ORGANISATION PLAN Financial Management Plan Organisational Plan SELECT AGENTS Marketing Plan Conduct Due Diligence Contract/Agreement Agent Management Review Exit • the types of agents are identified on the basis of your organisational and international objectives. This should be considered and finalised during the strategic planning process. What kind of agent do you need to appoint in a particular market to assist in meeting market objectives? • Agents are selected on the basis of ‘best fit’ in meeting your goals in a particular market. Does the agent being considered offer skills and services that are needed to meet market objectives? • Agent management is built into your international plan and internal management model with: -- internal positions/staff designated for the ongoing identification, recruitment, management and review of your agent network -- information management systems identified for the ongoing monitoring and record keeping involved in managing agents -- the costs of managing agents included in your financial management plan.18 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 21. SECTION TWOTHE AGENT MANAGEMENT PROCESS1. Best Practice in Agent Management1.1. Steps in Agent ManagementFive key steps have been identified as best practice to ensure effective agent management. The processis cyclical with ongoing identification, management and review occurring at different times depending onthe business needs, market conditions and agent activities. These five steps are: Identify Appoint Manage Review ExitFigure 2: The Agent Management Process 3. ONGOING AGENT 1. IDENTIFY AGENTS MANAGEMENT assess internal needs conduct initial training identify agent conduct refresher training develop communication approach 2. APPOINTING AGENTS agent completes application 4. REVIEW OF AGENTS conduct due diligence review performance decide on approach to service provision re-negotiate performance requirements agree on terms of business re-sign contract agree on performance indicators develop contract 5. EXIT STRATEGIES provide certificate of appointment terminate contract if required forward student appeal information packs International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 19
  • 22. Identify Appoint Manage Review Exit 2. Identifying Agents There are numerous types of agents and hundreds of different businesses operating as agents internationally and locally. If you are a large, well-established provider to international students, in many instances agents will seek you out. Smaller providers however, or those new to the international education industry, may have to actively search for agents to appoint. No matter which category your organisation falls into you need to have a clear understanding of agents and their role in each market. You should consider: • market alignment – the market objectives and client needs that the agent will service • agent alignment – your business needs or objectives that the agent will service. Investigating these questions at a macro level will assist in identifying agents that align with your business needs and objectives in a market as well as market-specific issues that may need to be addressed. 2.1. Market Alignment Every market is different and should be approached in a unique way. Agents may have different roles, offer different services and operate at different levels of accessibility in different countries. You need to research the market in the context of the needs of the students and the services offered by agents, as well as other market issues such as visa processing, the relationship between agents and governments, and regulation of agents. In investigating the market you should consider the following: • Is the use of an agent an effective market strategy to meet your organisational objectives? • What are the particular market trends? Are they whole-of-country based or regionally based? Large countries such as India, China, and Russia have niche regional markets and may require different strategies and agents to be employed in each one. In other markets, such as Scandinavia, it is the ‘done thing’ to employ and work closely with only one agent. The Scandinavian market, although covering several countries, tends to be more similar than many regional markets within the same country. • Where is Australia placed competitively in the market? Is Australia’s market share large or small? Does this affect the agent–provider relationship? For example, in Malaysia and China there may be agents that focus solely on Australia because of the size of Australia’s market share. In other countries, such as Russia, Australian agents will service a number of different markets so providers may have to maintain these agents more to gain some competitive advantage. • Are there any particular market issues affecting agents? For example, in countries where there is a high corruption index this may affect a particular agent’s ability to process student visa applications or affect your management of an agent. • Are there any in-market government regulatory requirements concerning agents? • More agents are employing an ongoing-care strategy with students, which does not necessarily end when their commission is paid. Agents sometimes provide support, advice and services prior to, during and following students’ first qualifications. Investigating these areas and others will help you build a profile of agents’ roles in each specific market and assist you in targeting your search if you do identify agents as a key strategic activity.20 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 23. Approaches to Agents by MarketWorking with agents requires a unique approach for each market to ensure the local needs, regulationsand customs are adhered to. It is recommended that the legal, financial, institutional and culturalconsiderations be addressed for each market in which you intend to work. Understanding and flexibilityare required. It is also important to consider the timing adopted for each market. As outlined in Table 3,education and training dates vary for different markets.Table 3: Indicative timing of key term dates for selected markets Market Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 School Year Finishes Australia February April July October December North & Central America September December February April July Continental Europe August October January April June Japan April September January - March South America February April July October DecemberImplications for agents: • Have material ready. • Negotiate the strategic use of conditional offers to fit into timing – i.e. give a conditional offer on the basis of incomplete results. • At peak times make sure providers are well resourced. Resource planning is necessary. • Have appropriately trained staff – for example, culturally aware staff. CASE STUDY : Education Agent Requirements by Market The Chinese Government introduced laws to regulate the activities of agencies providing advice to Chinese students about going overseas to study. These laws regulate the activities of student recruitment agencies in China, not students or overseas institutions. The laws require agencies to be registered with the National Government, via a process of nominations from provincial/municipal authorities. No foreign organisations are permitted and unapproved agents are prevented from advertising. The laws prevent agents from actively recruiting students at secondary schools (children under 15 years of age). There are nearly 400 agents approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. A full list of approved agents is available to purchase from Austrade Beijing. Providers seeking to deal with agencies that claim to have national approval should refer to this list. More information can be gained through Austrade in China.2.2. Agent AlignmentAssessing the market will provide you with a clear understanding of whether your business objectives willbe met by appointing an agent in-market or whether other strategies would be a better use of resources. Itwill also provide you with information to select agents that align with your objectives in-market, specifically: • the type of agent required in-market • the client maintenance expectations of the market, which will determine whether you should appoint an agent onshore or offshore • how agents monitor the market trends and demand for your product and how competitive the market is • the number of agents needed to service the country, given regional niche markets. Does each region require a different agent or can one agent, through their networks, service the whole country? International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 21
  • 24. Onshore vs. Offshore Many agents have offices based in Australia to provide ongoing service for their students and to establish a stronger relationship with providers. Most Australian-based agents have affiliated companies based in their target market. They usually travel offshore to recruit students on your behalf. The advantage of an onshore agent is that they have a high level of accessibility to you and your organisation. An offshore- based agent, however, may have more accessibility to in-market information and potential partners. An agent who has a large network both in Australia and offshore would have both benefits. You may need to monitor the legislative changes to the ESOS Act. One recommendation that has been made is to require more accountability for onshore agents, such as banning the payment of commissions should an onshore agent be caught poaching students from one provider to the other. As shown in Table 4, a simple matrix of the markets you wish to target and the number of agents you have servicing that market can help you manage and plan the search for agents. Note that markets can be as dynamic as they are diverse, so an agent environmental analysis should be conducted regularly to ensure your agent management strategy is following market trends. Table 4: Market–Agent Matrix Market No. of Students Target No. of Agents Contracted No. of Agents Needed China 30 0 2 Japan 20 2 1 India 50 3 4 Total 100 5 7 Quality vs. Quantity It is important to know your agent market and plan as much as possible. However, the decision to appoint a certain number of agents in a market is not always a strategic one. There are generally two approaches within industry to selecting and appointing agents: • appointing a minimum number of agents with whom you build quality relationships. These agents usually refer large numbers of students to your institution. • appointing a large number of agents in a market. This strategy involves appointing several agents who each refer small numbers of students to your institution. Collectively they make up your country enrolment target. It is much more difficult to manage large numbers of agents effectively or to build strong sustainable relationships in using this strategy. There are benefits to each approach. It is probably a natural progression that a smaller VET provider, starting out internationally, would initially appoint a larger quantity of agents. As they grow and establish strong relationships with key agents, they reduce the number of agents working with them. This progression is not always strategically driven: as an organisation grows internationally and establishes a brand in-market this places them in a better position to negotiate and establish a quality relationship with the more successful agents in-market.22 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 25. CASE STUDY : The Changing Nature of Agents IDP Expands to Recruit for Alternate Markets IDP Education has become the world’s largest student placement firm, operating more than 70 counselling centres in more than 20 countries and placing more than 300,000 students. It was jointly owned by 38 Australian universities and a leading online recruitment firm. IDP has been placing students into Australia for more than 20 years. In 2009 the organisation expanded into the United States and since that time has built the largest portfolio of university partners of any agency worldwide. IDP has now further expanded into the United Kingdom, Canada and Turkey and is continuing its growth into a multi-source, multi-destination placement organisation.2.3. Sources of Agent ContactsInternational education agents can be found in countries throughout the world and there are many waysproviders can identify suitable agents. It is now a requirement under the ESOS Act for all Australianproviders to list their agents publically on their website. While this can be a good source of potentialagents, providers should always conduct their own due diligence on these agents to ensure they arestrategically aligned to your business. Table 5 provides a summary of some possible sources of agents youmay consider.Table 5: Sources of Agent Contacts Source Description Austrade http://www.austrade.gov.au/ International Education ICEF: http://www.icef.com/ Agents Fairs (ICEF) Local onshore Agents Trade Queensland Australian-based, country-specific associations: for example, the Singapore Malaysian Association of Australia telephone books Chamber of Commerce and Industry other providers Internet web searches Networking with other other registered training organisations Providers other sectors Web search Provider Agent published provider lists of educational representatives either on their websites Lists or through their international prospectuses International Education Austrade Fairs Student Fairs Queensland Government http://www.export.qld.gov.au/contact-us.html#international Offices Offshore International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 23
  • 26. Professional International www.pieronline.org. Education Resources (PIER Online) for a full list of Qualified Education Agent Counsellors: http://www.pieronline. org/qeac/mobile.aspx Direct to you Internet site Offshore providers and agents introduction via networks in different markets Advertising expressions of interest/tender Agent Associations Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) http://mia.org.au/educationagent The Federation of Education and Language Consultants has a world wide network of Agents Associations (FELA): http://www.felca.org/ Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI): http:// www.aaeri.org/24 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 27. Identify Appoint Manage Review Exit3. Appointing AgentsAt this point you have assessed the market, identified the use of agents as a key recruitment strategy,and determined the type of agents you require. You now need to select specific agents to implementyour strategy.Appointing and using agents as a recruitment strategy can be very effective; however, it is not without itsrisks. It is essential that appointed agents act ethically and professionally. From a marketing point of viewagents are generally the first point of contact clients have with your organisation. A bad first impressioncan damage your in-market reputation. Also, there is a legal obligation through the National Code forproviders to ensure that agents are honest.A number of providers have developed an Agent Code of Conduct as a public means to articulate theirrequirements for agents. Proposed amendments to the ESOS Act as described in the Baird Review will placegreater onus on the provider to manage agents. As such it is important that you state your expectations upfront. It is advised that your Agent Code of Conduct is placed on your website for easy access. POLICY : The National Code (2007): Standard 4 – Education agents, Outcome of standard 4 Registered providers take all reasonable measures to use education agents that have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of the Australian international education industry and do not use agents who are dishonest or lack integrity.673.1. Application ProcessThe appointment of an agent involves three steps: 1. Undergoing due diligence through an application process 2. Establishing the kinds of agent management models you are going to use 3. Formalising your partnership through a contract.To reduce the risk associated with partnering with a non-desirable agent, many providers have implementedan application process during which due diligence of the agent is conducted. The application process isalso an opportunity to identify agents best suited to your organisation’s needs in the market: you canfind out how far their networks reach and potential market strategies they are going to implement. It isrecommended that your agent application form be divided into four sections: • Due diligence – where the corporate profile, organisational structure and referees are established • Training and educational qualifications – where potential agents’ knowledge of the Australian education industry and training qualifications is established • Market information – where knowledge of the target market, services being offered and in-market strategies are established • Services they will offer.6 http://aei.gov.au/AEI/CmsTemplates/GeneralTemplates/LandingPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODE GUID=%7b2F9C1196-4B2B-49A8-A64A-67B003520F81%7d&NRORIGINALURL=%2fAEI%2fESOS%2fDefault. htm&NRCACHEHINT=ModifyGuest7 http://www.aei.gov.au/AEI/ESOS/NationalCodeExplanatoryGuide/PartD/Standard_4.htm International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 25
  • 28. 3.1.1. Due Diligence The main purpose of due diligence is to ensure the agent you are appointing is honest and professional. There are two reasons to conduct due diligence on any potential agents: • Under Standard 4 of the National Code, providers must not make an agreement with an agent who has been engaged in dishonest and unethical practices or who has provided unauthorised migration advice. • Agents are usually the first point of contact between you and your potential students. The agent’s professional conduct is essential to maintain the integrity of your reputation as well as, more generally, Australia’s reputation as a quality provider of international education. You should thoroughly investigate the potential agent before appointing them. Most due diligence can be conducted through use of an application form, filled out by the agent, and contacting referees. Information sourced directly from the agent should collaborate with other sources such as government agencies, referees, agent associations and networks as well as your own industry networks. Areas for consideration in due diligence are: • the company profile • the owners and executives involved in the company. Pay particular detail to establishing whether anyone connected with the company has been involved in any bankruptcies, legal proceedings or liquidations • any sub-branches or affiliated companies, if the company is registered • the company’s financial probity • how long the company has been established • at least two educational referees, preferably Australian-based • possibly two student referees to ascertain the level of service the agent provided them, although this is not common practice within the Australian international education industry. 3.1.2. Training and Educational Qualifications This section of the application form should establish the agent’s knowledge of the Australian education industry. It should assess: • their familiarity with the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)—the visa application process and where to find changes to student visa requirements • their familiarity with the ESOS Act and associated National Code through the Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations (DEEWR) website • whether they are Qualified Education Agent Counsellors (QEAC). The Education Agent Training Course (EATC), delivered online by PIER is the result of collaboration between Australian Education International (AEI), DIAC and Australian international education peak bodies. The EATC covers four areas: Australia, the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and career trends; Legislation and regulations; Working effectively in international education; and Professional standards and ethics. Qualified agents are listed on the Qualified Education Agent Database (QEAC) at http://www. pieronline.org/qeac/default.aspx. • whether they are qualified Migration Agents under the Migrant Act. If not, do they understand what they can and cannot promise regarding Australian residency?26 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 29. • whether they hold any other relevant memberships or licenses. For example, you would ask agents from China to provide a copy of the Chinese Ministry of Education Registration Certificate with the agent registration number; alternatively, if the agent is based in Australia, ask for evidence that they are partnering with a registered Chinese education agent based in China. • whether they are an affiliate member of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).3.1.3. Market InformationThe application should also allow agents to show their knowledge of their geographical territory or market.Ask for details of: • the potential market • the geographical area the agent will service and how they will service it • the agent’s strengths in these areas • the number of students they handle each year • their proposal for promotion and marketing in the territories, including the events they will organise and attend on behalf of your organisation.3.1.4. ServicesFinally, you should ask for details of the services the agent is prepared to offer as part of the agencyagreement. The range of services will depend on the type of agent, their qualifications, market demandand the facilities they have in country. All agents should offer the following services as a minimum: • undertaking basic promotion and marketing • providing information to prospective students on your courses, campus, facilities and other information required under Standards 4 and 5 of the National Code • assisting in the recruitment of prospective students by providing advice on completing application forms and submitting them to your organisation • arranging for English language testing of prospective students • assisting prospective students with completing and submitting Australian immigration visa applications with the Australian Embassy.Additional services may be negotiated depending on the market and the agent’s qualifications andlicenses. For example, if the agent is located in Australia and is registered as an official migration agentthey may be able to provide a migration advisory service to the student. If they are a travel agency theycan organise airfares and accommodation in Australia. If one of your goals is to form partnerships in thetarget market some agents may act as a partnership broker between you and other overseas institutions.Services can be defined in more detail within the agreement. However, the application form will providesome information on the potential services the agent could offer.Note: The most successful agent–provider relationships are based on mutually beneficial and equalpartnerships. Therefore it is important to provide information on your organisation to the agent whenasking them to complete the application form. You should also encourage them to complete their owndue diligence process on you. The partnership will only work if there is a genuine alignment of businessobjectives and ethos.The best way to establish the scope of an agent’s services and market knowledge is to ask for a promotion andmarketing plan for their specified territory. The plan could be seen as a Capacity Statement demonstratingwhat the agent knows, will do and can do to meet your business objectives. It should cover the following: • This is what we know about you. • This is our understanding of your needs. • These are the services we will provide you to assist in meeting those needs. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 27
  • 30. 3.2. Agent Management Models After identifying an agent you want to appoint, and before contracting them, you need to decide on the scope of their appointment, specifically: • the service provision—what roles and responsibilities will they have? • commission structures—how will they be remunerated? • incentive Management Models—are there rewards for exceeding goals and obligations? 3.2.1. The Service Provision What services will the agent offer? What role will they play in promoting, marketing and recruiting for your organisation? The roles and responsibilities should be based on your business’s strategic objectives and priorities. You should keep in mind why you are appointing the agent in that particular market and the services the agent offers, and align the service provisions accordingly. If the agent is newly appointed, you may wish to enlist them to provide only minimum services to the market. As the relationship grows you could increase the service provision. You should note that the more high-level services you require, the more your responsibilities towards the agent will increase, such as training, monetary support and time. Table 6 below shows suggested service provisions and examples of the level of service that an agent may offer. Table 6: Service Provision and Level of Agent Support Services Basic Intermediate High Promotion Easily available and Joint promotions such as Regional advertising accessible in shop front. interviews when provider is campaigns; agent in market. representing provider at events. Marketing None. Translating marketing Exclusive marketing plan material. organised by the agent including marketing events Provider involvement in the and advertising. agent’s marketing plan. Market Research Basic information on market New market trends and Follow-up in market for features. demands as they come to students who have not light. converted into enrolments. Customer Student Counselling. Advice on migration and visa Issuing offer letters and Service application (if the agent is a Confirmations of Enrolment Advice on educational registered Migration Agent). (COEs) on behalf of application. provider. English language testing. Assistance with visa application. Pre-departure orientation. Alumni None Alumni events and follow up. Maintaining in country alumni database. Business None Introduction and advisory Partnership brokering and Development service for partnerships in negotiation on behalf of education and industry. provider. Servicing for None Through regional events and Through regional offices regional areas promotion. and sub agents.28 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 31. Remember that, as in any relationship, you need to build trust with the agent and the agent with you. Onlyappoint agents for services you are comfortable with them performing. As the relationship develops theservice provisions can be changed and expanded.3.2.2. RemunerationThe most common way for the remuneration of agents is through payment of a commission. The agent ispaid a percentage of the tuition fee once the student has paid their fees and commenced their studies.The industry standard varies but feedback from VET providers indicates that commission rates on averageare 15 per cent for a formal qualification and 20 per cent for ELICOS.8 Some organisations, in an effort togain the competitive advantage over other providers, have offered up to 40 per cent commission. Carefulconsideration needs to be given to the long-term economic viability of this approach, as opposed to usingthat money in marketing support for the agent. The biggest advantage of payment by commission is thatthe agent does not get paid if they do not recruit any students. However, a disadvantage is that, usuallybecause agents work for a number of different providers, if they are recruiting large numbers for yourcompetitor there is no incentive for them to re-route those students to your organisation. They get paideither way.Other payment models include: • set fee per student. • retainer. The agent is contracted to represent your organisation over a specified period of time to recruit students. It is recommended that this type of financial model be used more as a consultancy contract for a specific objective rather than a long-term market strategy. • agent administrative fees. The agent charges the students a fee. This is usually packaged and may include tuition fees, air flights, accommodation, etc. This method of payment is rarely used. However, some agents do charge the institution a commission fee and the student an administrative fee. You need to clarify whether an agent is charging students fees in addition to your commission payments. If they are, what added value are they providing the students? Associating yourself with an agent who is fleecing extra money from students can damage your reputation as well as expose you to non-compliance of the ESOS Act. It is essential you are clear on your agent’s services and payment methods.When considering which model to use, look at the environment and assess which model would provideyou a competitive edge while taking into consideration the long-term effects of any strategy you employ.One strategy employed by a number of organisations is to couple the payment of a basic commission withan Incentive Management Model.3.2.3. Incentive SchemesAs the international education industry becomes increasingly competitive, agents are a major source ofstudent recruitment for providers. To manage agents more strategically, reward agents who are workingwell and gain a competitive advantage over competitors. Many organisations are using incentive schemes.Incentive schemes can take many forms and may include financial or non-financial incentives. Types ofincentive schemes include: • discounting. Agents are offered reduced tuition fees for the students they recruit. Discounting is used by some providers to encourage the agent to route the students to their organisation rather than a competitor. Careful thought needs to be made before offering this incentive. Discounting can seriously undermine your position and attract students who are not necessarily part of your target market. Discounting can lead to a reduction in the quality of student being referred and devalue your courses.8 Feedback collected during consultation with Queensland VET Providers. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 29
  • 32. • variable commission rates. Additional percentages of commission rates are included as an incentive for your agent to perform better for you. For example, if they have completed the EATC they get an additional 1 to 5 per cent commission above their basic rate. This can be an effective tool to encourage your agent to perform better services for you. However, effectiveness will depend on the agent, the size of your organisation, and the number of students the agent is sending to you. This strategy may be less effective for smaller organisations where the number of students being sourced through one particular agent can vary significantly. • scholarships. Scholarships are offered to high-performing agent counsellors in the form of Certificates, Diplomas, short courses or even the EATC. These can be particularly effective for building relationships between you and the agent. Offering a scholarship or other professional development opportunity will also increase the skills and knowledge of your agent. • familiarisation visits. You offer to pay for your agent to visit your institution and meet relevant staff face-to-face. This increases your agent’s knowledge of your institution and personalises the professional connection by allowing your admission officers to meet the agents. • additional marketing support. This could be financial or physical support, whether by organising more joint promotions in-country or providing more financial support for marketing activities. You may want to use one or a combination of these incentives to motivate your agent – a combination of financial and non-financial incentives seems to be most effective. The decision of whether to use an incentive scheme or whether you can engage and motivate your agents one-on-one will depend on your resources, size and long-term growth plans. For example, if you have appointed a small number of agents they might be easily managed personally; however, unless you have a dedicated agent manager as you grow and appoint more agents, you might want to consider managing your agents within a management model. Many larger VET providers and universities are now using Incentive Management Models to strategically rank and provide incentives for their top performing agents. Agents are categorised and ranked against selection criteria based on performance and the provider–agent relationship. The selection criteria again should be based on your institutional objectives and should be at a macro level to account for market level diversity. For example, Table 7 illustrates how agents may be ranked into four levels depending on their performance in recruiting and their length of association with the organisation. Agents are recruited as bronze agents and then, through consistently achieving and exceeding their key performance indicators, can be recognised and rewarded for their loyalty and hard work. Table 7: Agent Rankings Rank Description No. of Students Revenue target Bronze New agents < 20 Silver Existing agents demonstrating growth in students > 20 numbers and meeting minimum targets Gold Key agent in targeted markets > 40 Use of sub-agents to recruit large numbers of students Platinum As above plus >50 $ 500,000 Business development activities for industry and institutional partnerships Each level offers incentives and rewards to encourage progression to the next level, as shown in Table 8.30 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 33. Table 8: Agent Incentives and Rewards Relationship Structure Bronze Silver Gold Platinum Length of Agreement 1 year 2 years 3 years 3 years Performance Review 6 1 year 1 year 1 year months Monthly report   Incentive / Benefits Commission rate - ELICOS 20% 20% 20%+3% 20%+ 4% over over target target revenue revenue Commission rate - Diploma 15% 15% 15% 15% Commission rate – Other (Study tours, etc) - - 10% 10% Commission rate based on revenue - - - 1.5% revenue generated Familiarisation visit – assistance arranging visits     Partner Certificate     Regular newsletter     Listing on web site     Training support – web based     Scholarships scheme    Familiarisation visit - paid visit to Queensland   Promotional Budget - $2000   Agreement administrative / marketing expenses paid   Training support (in person)   Signage on site  International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 31
  • 34. 3.3. Contracting Agents POLICY: The National Code (2007) Standard 4.1 states: The registered provider must enter into a written agreement with each education agent it engages to formally represent it. The agreement must specify responsibilities of the education agent and the registered provider and the need to comply with the requirements of the National Code. The agreement must include: • processes for monitoring the activities of the education agent, including where corrective action may be required, and • termination conditions, including provision for termination in the circumstances outlines in Standard 4.4. In addition to compliance with the National Code, the contract provides a document of reference to manage your relationship with the agent and the agent with you. As a minimum the agent contract should include: Service Provisions • roles and responsibilities of each party • a clear indication of the territory or geographical area the agent is responsible for Key Performance Indicators • Key Performance Indicators including student targets, processing times and partner introductions Incentives • incentive schemes • commission structures Basic Contractual Concerns • the duration of contract and termination clauses • provision for the document to fall within Australian legal jurisdiction whenever possible. As with any legal document it is essential this be reviewed by your organisation’s legal representatives. 3.3.1. The Service Provision The roles and responsibilities should be based on your business strategic objectives and priorities. You should keep in mind the reasons you are appointing the agent in that particular market and the services the agent offers and align the service provisions accordingly. If the agent is a new agent you may wish to appoint them to basically serve the market. As the relationship grows you could increase the service provision. You should note that, the higher the level of services you require, the higher your responsibilities towards the agent, such as increases in training, monetary support and time. Clearly Defined Territories It should also be made clear which geographical areas the agent is servicing. This will make it easy for you to manage your agents as well as stay focused on your organisational needs and objectives. There are a number of reasons for this: • Different markets may need different approaches. The agent you have appointed for a particular market may not be suitable to meet your objectives in a different market. • An agent expanding or encroaching into another territory may have implications on your relationship with existing successful agents or partners in that territory. • You may not have the resources to service another market.32 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 35. To clarify this, it should be noted that agents’ territories might be defined but not the nationalities theycan recruit. For example, an agent servicing Slovakia would be able to recruit a Korean student if they wererecruited within that territory. A Taiwanese agent based in Brisbane might have a defined territory of SouthEast Queensland and Taiwan. The size of the territory would be up to you and the nationalities of thoserecruited within the territory would not be restricted.3.3.2. Key Performance IndicatorsOnce the services have been decided and documented, key performance indicators (KPIs) should also beestablished. KPIs should be established together so the agent has some ownership over them and they arealso realistic. There is no point setting a KPI of 50 students when you are a small provider with a populationof 100 international students. If the KPIs are unrealistic then the agent will not work productively for youand the partnership will not reach its potential. Examples of KPIs include: • number of student applications sent by agent • conversion percentage of applications to enrolments • length of application processing times • number of partnership introductions made.As mentioned, KPIs will depend on the agent and the market. An agent who primarily provides businessdevelopment services and recruits students through these opportunities would have different KPIs to anagent who primarily recruits students through a number of promotional and marketing activities suchas student recruitment fairs. Ranking and incentives schemes can encourage agents to work above andbeyond their KPIs.3.3.3. Remuneration and IncentivesPayment procedures and incentives should be clearly stipulated in the contract and strictly adhered to.If using incentives or an Incentive Management Model, these should be clearly documented either in thebody of the contract or in the form of an attached Schedule.3.3.4. Basic Contractual ConcernsAs per all legal documents, the following should be included in any agent contract:Length of the agreementMost providers have a basic 12-month validation period from the time the agreement is signed. The lengthof the contract will depend on a number of factors including: your relationship with the agent; the resourcesyou have to conduct a review and renewal of agreement; and your positioning in the marketplace.If you are using a management model and you have a long and established relationship with your agent,the term may be three years. If it is a new partnership, you might want to have a probationary period of sixto twelve months.If you are a small provider you need to consider the resources you have to conduct reviews and renewalsof agents. If you have over 50 agents and all agreements expire at the same time it might be a large jobto review and renew all of them. If this is the case you may want to consider a management model andranking your agents. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 33
  • 36. Your position in the market also needs to be considered. What are your long-term strategies in the market and where does the agent fit into this? Is it a new market you are entering or an establishing cash-cow market? You need to consider your strategies, the performance of your agent and the performance of the market. Terms of Termination The circumstances that will lead to the termination of the agreement need to be clearly stated. Standard 4 of the National Code provides some guidance for this. POLICY: The National Code (2007) Standard 4 4.3 The registered provider must not accept students from an education agent or enter into an agreement with an education agent if it knows or reasonably suspects the education agent to be: • Engaged in, or have previously been engaged in, dishonest practices, including the deliberate attempt to recruit students where this clearly conflicts with the obligations of registered providers under Standard 7 (transfer between providers). • Facilitating the enrolment of a student which the education agent believes will not comply with the conditions of his or her student’s bias. • Using Provider Registration and International Students Management System, (PRISMS) to create Confirmation of Enrolment for other than a bona fide student OR • Providing immigration advice where not authorised under the Migration Act 1958 to do so. Where the registered provider has entered into an agreement with an education agent and subsequently becomes aware of, or reasonably suspects, the engagement by that education agent, or an employee or sub-contractor of that agent, of the conduct set out in Standard 4.3, the registered provider must terminate the agreement with the education agent. This paragraph does not apply where an individual employee or sub-contractor of the education agent was responsible for the conduct set out in Standard 4.3 and the education agent has terminated the relationship with that individual employee or sub-contractor.9 The registered provider must take immediate corrective and preventative action upon the registered provider becoming aware of an education agent being negligent, careless or incompetent or being engaged in false, misleading or unethical advertising and recruitment practices, including practices that could harm the integrity of Australian education and training. You should also include any organisational termination clauses. For example, if you do not want the agent to charge the student any additional fees to the commission they are receiving this should be clearly stated. The procedures for termination should also be stipulated. See Exit Strategies (page 42) for more information. Australian Legal Jurisdiction It is highly recommended that you include the applicable law and jurisdiction that the contract will fall within. That is in accordance with the law in Queensland and Australia and under the jurisdiction of the courts of Australia. It might also be a good idea to develop a summary of the agreement for the agent’s information. This document would include all information pertinent to the agent’s performance and how their performance will be measured. For example: • compliance with the ESOS Act • compliance with your Code of Conduct • specific KPIs if that is what you are going to use to measure their performance. 9 http://www.aei.gov.au/AEI/ESOS/NationalCodeExplanatoryGuide/PartD/Standard_4.htm3.3.5.34 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 37. Promotion of Contracted Agent on the InternetAmendments to the ESOS Act in 2010 require providers to publically list agents on their website. Once anagent is contracted you will need to ensure you update your web site to reflect the new agreement. Therequirements for listing include: • Providers need to list all agents they have a written agreement with even if no students have been recruited through that agent. • For larger agencies with multiple offices in each country it is possible to provide information on the head office in each and indicate the number of offices in other locations within the country. • The information should be easy to find on the provider’s website.Providers also need to ensure agents that are no longer contracted are removed in a timely manner.4. On-going Agent Management – Relationship Building Identify Appoint Manage Review Exit4.1. Ongoing Agent ManagementThe Agent Agreement states the responsibilities and obligations of the agent and your institution, isrequired by the ESOS Act, and is also a risk-minimisation strategy to protect your organisational integrityand brand. However, the contract does not guarantee the success of the partnership. The importance ofbuilding a strong partnership cannot be underestimated – you and your agent need to work together inorder to achieve outcomes and objectives.POLICY: The National Code (2007), Standard 4.2 (Education Agents) states • Registered providers must ensure that its education agents have access to up-to-date and accurate marketing information as set out in Standard 1 (Marketing information and practices)This means that, at the very least, agents should have access to your marketing material. Examples ofavailable material might include: • international prospectus • program guides • web page.This information is required by the ESOS Act and National Code; however, this will not achieve the desiredoutcomes without ongoing relationship building from both you and your agent. The most successful agent–provider relationships are established when agents are considered an extension of your organisation’sstaff. This can be achieved through a number of strategies, as described below.4.1.1. TrainingWhen appointing an agent it is important they get as much information about your organisation as possiblein order to counsel students and promote your institution (offshore). Induction training can be conductedin a number of ways including through an Agent Manual, familiarisation tour or personal visit and seminars.At the very least, an Agent Manual might include all information necessary for the agent to advise students,submit applications and then invoice for the necessary commission. It is a document that is used as atraining resource for agents to get to know your organisation. If possible, always deliver the Agent Manualpersonally and conduct a seminar for the agent and their staff, going through the manual step-by-step.The more personal contact and rapport you establish with your agent the more they will remember you andyour institution. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 35
  • 38. Other initial training strategies include inviting your agent to your organisation for a tour, providing an introductory seminar and meeting their contacts face-to-face. These strategies are more common for agents that are appointed onshore in Australia; however, they could be considered for offshore agents (such as a familiarisation tour) at a later stage of the relationship or as an incentive. See Section Three for examples of an Agent Manual Contents page. 4.1.2. International Prospectus Ensure your agent has received your International Prospectus. A prospectus is an essential tool for agents to easily guide students through your organisation’s capabilities and facilities. A well-prepared and organised International Prospectus makes an agent’s job easier because they have the knowledge to hand and can inform the student they are counselling immediately. If the agent does not have the information the student (your potential client) needs, they are less likely to refer students and you might have a harder job of building a relationship with them. It is important to note the issue of listing your agent in your Prospectus. The main purpose of having an agent is as a student referral. Students are sometimes more comfortable applying to Australian institutions through an agent who speaks their language and is a local. The ESOS Act requires that providers list their agents on their website. The benefits of this include: • Your agents become more accessible to the student as students can see which agents represent you. • You are building the relationship with your agent by making their job easier. Your Prospectus can be used by students interested in your organisation as a referral to a local person who has knowledge of your institution. 4.1.3. Agent Events Occasionally, governmental agencies supporting the export of Australian education organise agent tours. By keeping in contact with your local, state and federal government agencies you can become aware of and involved in these tours. The tours are designed to improve agents’ knowledge of Australia as an educational destination and individual visits to educational institutions are usually organised. If you are aware of such an event encourage your agents to become involved themselves. Table 9 shows the Queensland groups that can provide support. In Queensland the following groups can provide support: Table 9: Regional Queensland Education Networks Group Web Link Study Queensland www.studyqueensland.qld.gov.au Study Brisbane  www.studybrisbane.com.au Study Gold Coast http://www.studygoldcoast.org.au/ Study Cairns http://www.studycairns.com.au/ Study Townsville http://www.studytownsville.com.au/ Study Mackay http://www.studymackay.com.au/ SunED – Sunshine Coast http://www.suned.com.au/36 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 39. 4.1.4. Ongoing TrainingEnsure you have effective communication channels to update the agent on your institution; the ESOS Act;immigration requirements; when you will next be in the region; or how many places you have left for aparticular course in a particular semester. A non-evasive method for communicating these requirements isthrough an agent’s portal. This portal can also become a training tool for agents who have a high turnoverof staff.4.2. CommunicationEstablishing a communication plan for each of your agents can ensure they are kept informed of yourinstitution’s activities. The communication plan should identify clear strategies and channels forexchanging relevant information – quality of information is far more important than quantity, particularlyfor busy agents. It is also important to note that you are not your agent’s only client and that they may nothave time to sift through mountains of information.4.2.1. Communication StrategiesA Communication Strategy identifies your approach to keeping your agents up-to-date on institutionalinformation, activities, changes such as staff turnover, when staff will be in the region, marketing activitiesand events. A strategy is implemented through the use of one or more communication channels. Possiblestrategies include: • building a personal rapport with the agent and their staff • making agents an extension of your organisational staff.4.2.2. Communication ChannelsAgents’ Portal Many institutions are establishing an agents’ information portal as the main channel for updating agentson institutional activities. The portal is especially useful as a resource for agents who you do not get to visitfrequently. The portal can include: • information on: -- courses -- recognition of prior learning policy -- fees -- international scholarships -- agent training initiatives -- application submission (specifically online) -- application tracking facilities -- marketing initiatives -- events and exhibitions -- the ESOS Act and DIAC • an up-to-date list of institutional contacts • an e-newsletter. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 37
  • 40. Face-to-Face The most effective way of building rapport with your agent is face-to-face. Ensure you visit your agent whenever you are in the region. Even if it is not an organised event, drop in and say hello. While you are there, check they have up-to-date marketing information and give the counsellors the opportunity to ask questions. Other activities may include: • inviting the agents to visit you whenever they are in Australia • taking your agents out for a coffee or a meal to discuss any issues or to get to know them better. Sometimes, because of geographical constraints, it is not practical to meet with your agents face-to-face; however, communication and relationships can be built through other channels such as: • the agent portal • regular contact through e-mail, telephone or Skype to touch base. See if they need any updated material, if they have any questions and how they are proceeding with reaching their targets. When communicating with agents keep in mind the time differences and cultural holidays and take this into consideration when expecting a response. • ensuring you respond quickly to the agent’s enquiries. CASE STUDY: Technology And Agent Recruitment IDP Education Virtual Fairs IDP Education has developed a virtual recruitment fair for Indian students looking to study offshore. The fair provides access in a timely and efficient way and offers free live chats with selected provider representatives and a 24×7 window for offline queries. Students simply register themselves on the IDP portal and proceed to the chat room. The virtual fair is one activity to direct the students in selecting the right course and provider for themselves and choosing the right option for further studies. IDP also help students with application submission, offer acceptance, visa counseling and tuition fee payment. For more information visit: http://www.idpvirtualfair.com. Social Networking Social networking is simply groups of individuals coming together around a shared interest. Social networks allow people to meet together in a familiar environment, to share information, participate in events and activities, create sub-networks and interact with public networks. Social networking has become widely prevalent in recent years as a result of new internet based programs giving people the ability to source first hand information on experiences, topics, places, etc from across the world. There are hundreds of web based social networking sites, with some of the best known in Australia being Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Social media strategies can be developed to target agents directly as a means of communicating and/or as a promotional activity targeting students. When developing social media strategies providers need to consider: 1. Social networking platforms are market specific - Countries may use different networking sites and therefore you will need to research how social networking is adopted in your target markets. 2. Resourcing needs - Creating social media space on social networking sites is easy and inexpensive. Providers can encourage past students to post feedback on the site about their experiences and invite other potential participants to join your network to find out more. Be aware that social networking can be resource intensive as users want immediate responses and thus you need staff available to be responsive. 3. Social networking as a research mechanism - Consider how you can use positive and negative feedback posted on sites to improve or update your programs. Providers can also use competitor sites as market intelligence to gather ideas such as how programs are run, new market opportunities, or to find potential new partners.38 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 41. 4. Monitoring is essential - As social networking is open to everyone, information may be posted that may not be appropriate, suitable or correct about your programs. It is advisable to have someone regularly check the internet for posts about your programs. This can assist to not only counter negative or incorrect messages but also be used as a source of positive messages for potential students, parents and sponsors. CASE STUDY: Web and Social Media Promotions are Critical Research conducted by the British Council’s Education Intelligence (EI) unit from across 200 countries and over 127,000 people found that websites are the single most important source of information for students establishing a consideration set. The report suggests that in most countries Google is the most popular search engine; the exceptions are Korea, where Google runs behind local search engine Naver, and China, where local search engine Baidu is partnering with Microsoft’s Bing to provide a censored English language search engine. For social networking, Facebook is the top choice in all markets, except China where the free instant messaging service QQ Tencent has 636 million accounts. Most markets also include a home-grown site in their top six social networking preferences. In Taiwan, one favourite is a community site that hosts blogs and provides a free photo album and revels in the name ‘Wretch’. The research suggests that providers increasingly need well-developed web and social media strategies to support their international student recruitment. Providers should be working closely with in country agents to determine the most appropriate approach to delivering quality and targeted web based material at a local level.4.3. Marketing and PromotionConducting joint marketing and promotional events assists in building a relationship between you andyour agent while you assist each other in reaching student recruitment targets. These joint activities cantake many forms including: • educational exhibitions. Recruit your agent to work with you on an exhibition stand. This is not appropriate for some exhibitions; for example, it would not be appropriate to invite an agent to attend an IDP exhibition with you. You should check before extending the invitation that agents are not barred from the exhibition. The benefits of having an agent assist you in these events include: -- additional training opportunities for the agent: as they hear you counsel students they can gain additional knowledge of your institution -- the agent can follow up locally on student enquiries from the exhibition after the event -- the agent can provide ongoing support for students who applied during or because of the exhibition. • provider interviews. When you are in the region the agent can organise specific institutional interviews in their offices. This is where the agent advertises that you, as a representative of your institution, will be available through appointments to offer advice to potential students. The agent can then provide ongoing support for students when you leave. Organised interview sessions of this kind send a strong message of cooperation and support between you and your agent to the market and potential students. • client events. The agent can act as an event organiser for client events such as graduations, alumni functions, pre-departure seminars offshore, and parental dinners. • translation of promotional material. The agent can organise translation of promotional flyers and prospectuses. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 39
  • 42. CASE STUDY: Printing Promotional Material Offshore to Reduce Costs Your in-country agents can provide advice regarding printing and promotional arrangements offshore to reduce your printing and delivery costs. One example is the use of BPO Intelligence to improve efficiencies around promotional resources. BPO Intelligence provides a range of services to institutions, including offshore printing, storage and distribution of marketing materials controlled by a customised online system, global mail-outs and document processing. BPO Intelligence aims to reduce costs and be faster and more efficient by doing things more cheaply locally. Your in-country agents can act as a liaison and coordinator for such services. 4.4. Record Keeping Keeping accurate records of the interactions between you and your agent can assist in planning and developing your strategic documents and individual Country Plans, reviewing, and improving your relationship with an agent. There is specific information you need to capture to effectively manage an agent: • agent’s main business address and addresses of sub-agencies • territories the agent will cover • contract start date • contract expiry date • interactions with the agent • number of applications the agent has referred • the conversion percentage of those applications • the targeted number of students. A basic Agent Register/Database will enable you to keep track of how many agents you have, the territories they cover and when their contracts are up for renewal. If this is created in an Excel spreadsheet you can easily search for agents by territory, address, contract expiry date, etc. An Agent Diary sheet is very useful in recording your interactions with agents including any issues; feedback from students, parents and staff; joint promotional activities you have conducted with them; and requests for additional information. The Agent Diary can be referred to during the review period to assess factors such as the level of support the agent received and any gaps in the agent’s training. Assigning an Agent ID code to applications being referred by specific agents allows you to keep track of the number of applications referred by a specific agent and the number converted to enrolments. This is useful information to have during the review period to assess how effective the agent/provider has been in meeting objectives and goals. It is also required to check the validity of commission invoices received from the agent. Many educational institutions are now looking at Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to assist in application processing. These systems can record, report and analyse data such as students’ applications from enquiry to enrolment. They are effective in agent management as they can be used as a tool for the agent to apply online and then track their student’s application form as it is being processed by the educational institution. These systems are advantageous for the provider as they can track the agent’s referral of applications. Two examples of companies providing CRMs to Australian educational institutions are Studylink (www.studylink.com) and Hobsons (www.hobsons.com). See Section Three for an example of an Agent Register/Database.40 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 43. CASE STUDY: Agent Management Portal To effectively manage agents, providers use Agent Management portals. These portals centrally record, monitor and manage information about each individual education agent. Agent portals are often web- based applications that centralise information on education agents. Provider staff can access this information anywhere in the world to give them the information required to make informed decisions and to optimise marketing opportunities with the education agents. Having a portal demonstrates commitment to servicing education agents, ensuring reputable education agents are contracted to recruit potential students and are compliant with the National Code, Standard 4 requirements.4.5. Managing IssuesIt is highly recommended that as part of your agent management process you include procedures formanaging issues and complaints regarding your agent. These issues might come in the form of: • complaints about the agent from the provider • complaints about the provider from the agent • student complaints about the agent • student complaints about the institution to the agent.Instructions and procedures regarding these issues should be transparent and easily accessible to allpossible parties, including through the contract regarding agent issues and through your website regardingstudent grievances.Procedures for managing complaints by the agent or provider regarding the other should be detailed in thecontract. For example, if there is a non-compliance issue then a letter should be sent advising of the issuesand allowing the accused party a certain amount of time to respond. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 41
  • 44. Identify Appoint Manage Review Exit 5. Review of Agents The expiry and renewal of an agent’s contract is an ideal time to conduct a review of the agent–provider relationship. The timing of the review will depend on the length of your agent’s contract. A new agent might be reviewed biannually, a continuing agent annually and a key agent biennially. The objective of a review is to assess the success of your partnership by rating your agent’s performance (and your performance) against certain KPIs and/or criteria. You should conduct the review within the context of your goals and objectives in the market. When conducting the review, you should keep in mind how much you have supported the agent. If the agent has not met certain expectations and goals, objectively look at your role in the partnership. Did you do everything you could have done to support the agent? Did you respond to their enquiries quickly? Did you send promotional and marketing material when requested? Did you visit the agent whenever you could? How much contact did you have with the agent over the contractual period? Following are some examples of internal documents that will assist you in the review: • Agent Contract • Country Plan for the relevant territories the agent covers • Agent Diary • Agent Annual Communication Plan • Statistical data on applications referred by the agent and the conversion to enrolments. As part of the review it is also useful to conduct some qualitative research such as; talking to stakeholders including students, parents, admission staff, marketing staff and the agents themselves. After gathering all the information you can assess the data through a Agent Performance Review Template (Section 3). This template provides a summary of your findings and documents the outcome of the review process. Identify Appoint Manage Review Exit 6. Exit Strategies As with any partnership or international engagement activity, exit strategies should be devised and documented at the commencement of the partnership. There might be several reasons you and an agent part company. Examples include: Non-compliance • legislative non-compliance by the agent • contractual non-compliance by either the agent or you as a provider Non-Renewal • the agent not wishing to renew your contract • you not wanting to renew your contract with the agent due to market prioritisation or other partnerships in market.42 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 45. Figure 3: Agent Review Process ONE MONTH BEFORE EDUCATION REPRESENTATIVE CONTRACT EXPIRES SEND AGENT A LETTER START GATHERING DATA ADVISING OF REVIEW QUANTITATIVE DATA QUALITATIVE DATA Internal Reports Stakeholder feedback Enrolment Statistics DATA ANALYSIS COMPLETE PERFORMANCE REVIEW TEMPLATE Agent met all criteria Agent has not met criteria Agent has not met criteria approved for renewal but no support provided - despite support - renewal renegotiate terms of contract of contract not approved and KPIs Send renewal Send non-renewal of contract letter International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 43
  • 46. 6.1. Non-Compliance The consequences of non-compliance with the ESOS Act, the National Code or other contractual arrangements should be specified in the Agent Agreement. The agreement should document the following: • timeline for terminating the agreement • channel of communication to be used to terminate the agreement • implications for the students and services that are being offered through the agent • circumstances under which the agreement will be terminated. Below is an example of an industry Educational Representative Agreement Termination Clause. POLICY: Termination of the Agreement This agreement terminates all prior Agreements between the provider and the Representative for the recruitment of overseas students, including as to any matter covered by this agreement. This agreement will end if: • Either party gives the other party 30 days prior written notice; or • The provider gives notice to the Representative that the Representative has breached a provision of this Agreement or if the Provider is directed or required to do so by a relevant Australian government department. In such cases, termination will be effective immediately. Notification of termination will be sent to the Representative and the nearest Australian Diplomatic Mission and other relevant government bodies. If the agreement is ended by either party, the Representative must: • Submit all applications and Program fees from prospective students received up to the date of termination; and • Cease to use any advertising material supplied by the Institute and return such material to the Institute by registered mail or by a reputable international courier. This Agreement will lapse if there is no activity by the agent to refer overseas students to the Institute within the first 12 months or such other time as agreed in writing by the provider. When terminating an agreement with an agent you need to consider the consequences and the ripple effect. Who do you need to contact? The Australian government? Students whose applications are in the system? Under the National Code (2007) you are obliged to report agents guilty of non-compliance with the legislation to the Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations (DEEWR). It is in all Australian providers’ interests to ensure that agents working to promote Australian educational institutions are ethical and this is what the ESOS Act provides. If the termination is due to non-compliance other issues you may have to consider are how to handle the media and the damage the non-compliance has done to your reputation in country. How wide spread is the damage? What strategies can be implemented to mitigate the damage? Whatever the circumstances, it is essential that your clients (students) are kept up-to-date with progressions and are not unduly disadvantaged by the dissolution of the agent partnership.44 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 47. Non-Renewal of ContractIf your partnership with an agent has ended for other reasons—for example non-activity or a changeof country strategic direction— transparent arrangements are also important. However, a reasonableamount of time needs to be given for exit strategies to come into effect. As in non-compliance, otherconsiderations include: • giving the other party written notice of the intention to exit • giving the reasons for exiting • giving a reasonable amount of time to exit (one month) • advising stakeholders, specifically potential students. Where there has been no legislative non- compliance it is not necessary to inform government departments or the local Consulate of the dissolution of the partnership • making arrangements so stakeholders are not unduly disadvantaged by the dissolution. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 45
  • 48. SECTION THREE PROVIDER TOOLS AND TEMPLATES Agent Management Process Stage Process Templates, Form, Policy 1. Identifying Agents 1. Agent Code of Conduct 2. Appointing Agents Agent Completes 2. Appointment and Termination Policy Application 3. Application Form 4. Application Letter 5. Provider Information Gathering Information 6. Business Referee Report 7. Student Referee Report Assessment of Application 8. Process Checklist Notification 9. Rejection Letter 10. Acceptance Letter (summary of contract) 11. Certificate of Appointment 12. Request for Marketing Material 13. Example Agent Manual Template 3. Ongoing Agent Record Keeping 14. Sample Agent Contract Management 15. Example of Agent Database Customer Relationship 16. Example of Communication Plan Management 17. Example of Agent Diary 4. Review Review Performance 18. Performance table template Notification of Review 19. Renewal Letter 20. Letter advising of non-renewal of contract 5. Exit Exit 21. Letter of Termination46 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 49. 1. Sample Education Agent Code of ConductThis Code has been formulated as a basis to develop a professional relationship between the collegeand the Agent. The Code outlines a number of standards for Agents to follow in an effort to maintainhigh professional standards in the marketing and delivery of education services and which safeguard theinterests and welfare of international students.Agent Responsibilities 1. Knowledge of legislative requirements. Agents are aware of the requirements imposed by the ESOS Framework, including the ESOS Act and National Code. Agents take steps to ensure that they and any of their staff are fully informed of any changes to the National Code as they may occur from time to time. In addition, the Agent abides by all relevant Australian State and Federal legislation when representing the College, including the Trade Practices Act 1974 (CTH). 2. Ethical student recruitment. Agents ensure that the recruitment of international students is conducted at all times in an ethical and responsible manner and consistent with the requirements of the relevant course or curriculum as detailed in College materials. All marketing undertaken by the Agent maintains the integrity and reputation of the industry, the College and registered Providers generally. Agents do not knowingly recruit or attempt to recruit students where this conflict with National Code Standard 7. 3. No false or misleading statements. Agents do not make any false or misleading statements about College courses and services to the public. In particular, Agents do not give false or misleading information or advice in relation to: a. Claims of association between Providers; b. The employment outcomes associated with a course; c. Automatic acceptance into another course; d. Possible migration outcomes; or e. Any other claims relating to the College, its course or outcomes associated with the course. 4. Up-to-date information. Agents regularly review all information and materials provided to the Agent by the College and ensure that all information and materials submitted to actual or prospective students is accurate and up to date. 5. Fair and equitable student selection. Agents ensure that equal opportunity principles will be applied to student selection decisions and that all student selections are conducted in accordance with College policy. 6. Qualified staff. Agents employ appropriately qualified staff, and train all staff who are involved in student recruitment, enrolment and selection processes to ensure that students are appropriately selected in accordance with College policy. The Agent ensures that its entire staff abides by this Code of Conduct in their dealings with actual or prospective students of the College. 7. Adhering to College procedures. Agents adhere to College enrolment and other relevant procedures and promptly make available all original applicant documentation to the College upon request. 8. Maintenance of student privacy. Agents keep all applicant information collected as part of the application and enrolment process secure. Agents take all necessary steps to ensure that the handling and disclosure of all personal information complies with the College’s privacy policy and the relevant Australian state and federal privacy legislation. 9. Fees. Agents handle all course fees with care and in accordance with their fiduciary obligations. All such moneys received must be passed on immediately to the College without set off or deduction. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 47
  • 50. 2. Sample Agent Appointment Monitoring and Termination Policy 1. Purpose The Representatives of the X Provider are often the first point of contact between perspectives students and the Institute. Their activities and integrity are important to the Institute’s reputation as a desirable destination for students. The institute is therefore committed to only appointing Agents who will act ethically and appropriately. The Institute monitors agent activities according to standard 4 of the National Code and acts immediately to prevent or correct negligent, careless or incompetent and dishonest practices. 2. Scope The procedure applies to: • Agent of X Provider (Including Sub-Contractors of the Agent and all employees) • Staff of International Student Unit (ISU) who are involved in monitoring the activities of agents. 3. Definitions CRICOS: Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students DEEWR: Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations DIAC: Department of Immigration and Citizenship ESOS Act: Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 ESOS Regulations: Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001. National Code: National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 Prospective Student: A person who intends to become, or who has taken any steps towards becoming, a Student, an ‘Overseas Student’ or ‘Intending Overseas Student’ as defined by the ESOS Act Agent: An accredited person or organisation with the authority to promote the X Institute of TAFE’s courses and services to Students or intending Students in nominated regions Agent Agreement: The agreement between X Provider and the Agent including the Schedules. International Student: A person holding an Australian Student visa and is defined as an ‘Overseas Student’ in the ESOS ACT 4. Actions 4.1. The X Provider monitors Agents as follows: 4.1.1. Telephone, teleconference and meetings 4.1.2 Regular reports from Agent 4.1.3 Performance benchmarks included in Agent Agreement48 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 51. 5. Agent Performance Appraisal5.1 The performance of each Agent will be monitored and reviewed by X Provider.5.2 X Provider will consider the performance of the Agent to decide whether to: 5.2.1 Maintain the Agent’s appointment; 5.2.2 Appoint the Agent for a further year subject to certain conditions; or 5.2.3 Terminate the Agent’s appointment in accordance with Termination of an Agent within this Procedure.5.3. In considering the performance of the Agent under Item 5.2, international staff will complete the International Agent Performance Appraisal form and consider: 5.3.1 The agent’s compliance with the Agent’s Agreement and any conditions placed on the agent by the Institute; 5.3.2 The recruitment activities which the Agent has completed, and the conversion rate of: • Student Applications to the Institute Offers; and • The Institute Offers to actual enrolment of students; • The reasons why applications from potential students did not proceed to student enrolment status; • Agent Marketing Materials and information access; • Any informal/verbal feedback or information from students or third parties regarding the Agent; • The number of students transferring to other educational Providers and the reasons for any transfer.6. Re-appointment of an Agent6.1 If, following an Agent Performance Appraisal, the Institute is satisfied that the Agent has not engaged in unprofessional conduct, and has met satisfactory performance criteria a new Agent Agreement may be offered to the Agent.6.2 The new Agent Agreement is to be updated to include any new DIAC or DEEWR or Institute regulations or requirements.6.3 Staff in the International office file the new Agent Agreement and a copy of the completed ISU Agent Performance Appraisal Form on the Agent’s file.7. Termination of an Agent7.1 If the Institute becomes aware or reasonably suspects that an Agent has engaged in unprofessional conduct, the Director, Business Development writes to the Agent with a warning regarding any unprofessional conduct.7.2 The Agent must provide a written response within 10 working days of the date of the letter as specified above in Item 5.3.1. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 49
  • 52. 7.3 After 10 working Days from the date of the letter as referred to in Item 7.4 The Director, Business Development may consider the Agent’s performance in light of: • The response of the Agent to the letter referred to in Item 7.1; • Whether the Agent engaged in unprofessional conduct; and • The considerations contained in the ISU Agent Performance Appraisal Items 7.1. 7.5 After considering the Agent’s conduct and performance, the Director, Business Development may: • Require the Agent to undertake further training; • Maintain the Agent’s appointment; • Warn the Agent; • Suspend the Agent’s appointment; • Maintain the Agent’s appointment subject to certain conditions; or • Terminate the Agent’s appointment immediately. 7.6 The Director, Business Development must terminate the appointment of an Agent if he or she knows or reasonably suspects the Agent may have been engaged in unprofessional conduct. 7.7 Where the Director, Business Development has made a decision as stated in Item 7.5 above, he or she may disclose that decision and the reasons for it to other people, organisations, bodies or professional associations, including the Agent’s employer. Any disclosure must be made in accordance with the Institute Privacy Policy. 7.8 If the Director, Business Development decides to terminate an Agent’s appointment, the Director should • Advise in writing to the Agent that his or her appointment has been terminated; • Notify the International Students Unit of the termination of the Agent and advise staff that no further applications are to be accepted from the Agent. 8. References • Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 ESOS Regulation 2001 • The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code) • The ESOS (Registration Charges) Act 1997 • The Migration Act 1958 • The Migration Regulations 199450 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 53. 9. Forms/Record Keeping10 Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period Agent Agreement International Unit Director for Business 7 years after contract has Development expired10 This form can also be found in the International Education Agent Management – Queensland VET Sector, Best Practice Guide International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 51
  • 54. 3. Sample Application for Consideration to be Appointed as an Education Agent1110 <<Insert Logo>> Application for consideration to be appointed as an education agent Company Profile Company Details Company Name Street Address Postal Address Phone Web Fax Skype Email Contact Officers Insert more fields as required Branch Office Locations Company Director / Principal Position Phone Email Alternative Representative Phone Email Company background Business registration (ABN) If the agent is located in Australia they require an ABN. If located offshore ask for No. evidence of local business registration requirements 11 This form can also be found in the International Education Agent Management - Queensland VET Sector, Best Practice Guide http://training.qld.gov.au/information/tafe-qld-international/best-practice-guides.html52 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 55. Details of registering countryand authorityHas the company or anyindividual within thecompany every beeninvolved in past, pending,threatened or potentiallitigation, arbitration,administrative actions orother disputesBusiness profile/strategic Y/Nplan (please attach)Organisational chart Y/N (please attach)Key business activities (List)Year foundedYears as an education agentNumber of staffEATC Training (PIER Online) Y/NList all staff that havecompleted the EATCNumber of offices (locations)Sub-agenciesMigration Institute Y/NMembershipPartnerships with otheragencies (List)Associations/ affiliationswith other relevantorganisations (List)Associations with any localauthorities / governments /councils/etc. (List) International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 53
  • 56. Marketing Please indicate the geographical territory you will service Provide description of your target market, trends, demands etc. Proposal for promotion and marketing in the territories Performance Number of students sent abroad each year Proposed number of students sent to us in the next year Service Fees and Charges What services do you provide for students? Please provide details of any fees you charge students Referees Educational Referees (x2) Name Position Organisation Address Phone Email Student Referees (x2) Name Address Phone54 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 57. Email Organisation/Institution studyingDeclarationI am interested in representing you as an educational representative and I agree to do so in an honest andprofessional manner. I agree to: • Regularly monitor policies and changes to the policies as reported on the DIAC website. • Regularly monitor policies and regulations and changes to these policies and regulations as reported on the DEEWR website. • I have read the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students and agree to adhere to the relevant Standards.SignedName DateOrganisation Position International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 55
  • 58. 1. Sample of an Application Letter <<Date>> [Click here and type recipient’s address] Dear <<agent’s name>> RE: Application to become an Education Agent for <<organisation>> Thank you for your interest in representing and working with <<organisation>> as an Educational Representative. Please find enclosed an Agent Application Package. This package is for agents who: • Have never been registered as a <<organisation>> educational agent • Have not been registered in the last twelve months. <<organisation>> values the development of strong relationships with our Educational Representatives and ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes. We expect all of our Educational Representatives to behave professionally with the highest ethical standards at all times. Before making an application we strongly encourage you to read the following: • <<organisation>> International Student Prospectus – www.xxxx • ESOS Act (2000) and the National Code (2007) - www.deewr.gov.au/esos • It is also recommended that you visit the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website – www.immi.gov.au. If you decide to apply to become an Educational Representative for <<organisation>> you must answer all questions on the enclosed application form. All of the information MUST be in English or translated into English from a notary office in your country. It is also important to note that two of your referees must come from the educational sector. Once you have completed the application please sign and return the form. Your application will be assessed on the basis of your experience and the strategic alignment of your application with our needs. We look forward to receiving your application. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us on <<organisational contract details>> Yours sincerely,56 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 59. 2. Sample of Provider Information (International Prospectus)1. Title Page2. Welcome from CEO/Principal3. Organisational Profile a. History b. Reputation c. Professional Memberships/alliances d. Fast Facts4. City Profile a. <<organisation in>> City b. City Profile (Fast Facts) c. Cost of Living5. Why choose <<Organisation>>6. Student support services a. Overseas Student Health Cover b. Airport Reception c. Accommodation d. Orientation e. Personal Support f. Social Activities g. College Facilities h. English Language Support i. Employment Opportunities7. Study Options8. Training Course Guide9. Financial Information a. Tuition fees b. Fee Refund policies c. Scholarships d. Employment Options10. Admissions Information a. Entry Requirements b. English Language Partners c. International Partners i. Agents ii. Colleges d. Application Procedures International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 57
  • 60. 3. Example of an Educational Referee Report Agent Referee Report Company Profile Name of Agent Reference Check Phone/Email/Post Date Checked Date Checked Referees Name Position within the organisation Name of Organisation Phone Email Skype Background Information What is the nature of your business relationship with the applicant? How long have you had a business relationship with the applicant? What do you consider are the applicant’s key strengths? Do you have any comments or issues that may impact on the applicant’s knowledge, skills and ability to produce outcomes? Marketing and Recruitment Do you have any comments on the applicant’s ability to recruit students and generate business? How do you find the quality of applications and students being submitted by this applicant? Any additional comments I declare that this information is true and correct Signed: (referee or interviewed by) Date58 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 61. 4. Example of a Student Referee ReportStudent Referee ReportReference Check Phone/Email/PostDate CheckedReferees NamePhoneEmailSkypeName and country of educationinstitutionWhat was the nature of yourassociation with the applicanteg. agent, travel agent, migrationadviser.What services did the applicantprovide to you?What do you consider the applicant’skey strengths?Do you have any comments orissues on the service and advice youreceived from the applicant?Any additional commentsI declare that this information is trueand correctSigned: (referee or interviewed by)Date International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 59
  • 62. 5. Process Checklist: New Agent Application Agent Name Territory/ies Action Officer Date Comments 1 Send agent application package • Covering Letter • Application Form 2 Receive application form back from agent • Signed by the agent. • Referees provided 3 Application Assessed • Referees contacted • Application assessed against organisational agent objectives • Agent marketing plan assessed 4 Application Approved • Generate Letter of Acceptance (Cover letter) • Generate 2 copies of Education Agent Agreement. • Send signed documents to Education Agent for signing. Application Rejected • Send rejection letter 5 • Signed Education Agent Agreement returned • Generate Education Agent Certificate. • Agent Manual • Send pack to agent • Send marketing material eg International Prospectus to agent. 6 • Enter agent details on agent database • Add Agent to Internet site60 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 63. 6. Example of Rejection Letter<<date>>Dear <<agents name>>RE: Application to represent <organisation> as an Education AgentI am writing to you in regard to your recent application to represent <organisation> as an Education Agent.Thank you for your application and interest however we are not appointing agents within <<territory>> atpresent.<<organisation>> values the development of long term mutually beneficial partnerships with our approvedEducation Agents. At the present time <<territory>> is being serviced through a number of establishedEducation Agents.If you disagree with this decision you have the right to appeal. Please contact {your organisation} forinformation on the appeal process.We will keep your application on file and if any opportunities arise where we can work together in the futurewe will contact you.Thank you again for your application and we wish you success in your business.Yours sincerely, International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 61
  • 64. 7. Example of Education Agent Acceptance Letter <<date>> Dear <<agents name>> RE: Application to represent <organisation> as an Education Agent in <territory> I am writing to you in regard to your recent application to represent <organisation> as an Education Agent in <territory>. I am pleased to advise that your application has been successful. <<organisation>> values the development of a long term mutually beneficial partnership with your organisation and would like to formalise this commitment through the signing of an Educational Agent Agreement. It is with pleasure that we enclose two copies of the Agent Agreement between <<agents company>> and <<your organisation>>, in accordance with the ESOS Act 2000. If you would like to accept this offer please sign both agreements and return one to us at your earliest convenience. Once we have received confirmation of your acceptance through receipt of the signed contract we will forward your Agent Certificate of Appointment, brochures and promotional material order form. We thank you for your support and look forward to a long and successful partnership. Yours sincerely, <<Click here and type your name>> <<Click here and type job title>> 8. Sample Agent Contract The following template is taken from Victoria TAFE International’s (VTI) Best Practice in Education Agent Management Guide and as is provided as an example of what a contract could contain. Providers MUST contextualise and get their own legal advice regarding the agent contract. Agreed terms 1. ENGAGEMENT OF THE REPRESENTATIVE 1.1 The Representative is engaged to perform the Services in the Territory for 12 months from [insert date] until [insert date] (the Term). 1.2 No exclusivity is given or implied to the representative. INSTITUTE may engage other Representatives to operate in the Territory during the Term, if it so chooses to perform the same or similar services. 1.3 Upon the appointment of the Representative, the Representative will receive an executed copy of this Agreement from INSTITUTE.62 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 65. 2. WARRANTY & INDEMNITIES OF THE REPRESENTATIVE2.1 The Representative warrants that: (a) (Purpose) where INSTITUTE has, either expressly or by implication, made known to the Representative any particular purpose for which the Services are required, the Services will be performed in such a way as to achieve that result; (b) (Conflict) the Representative its employees, agents and contractors do not hold any office or possess any property, are not engaged in any business or activity and do not have any obligations whereby duties or interests are or might be created in conflict with or might appear to be created in conflict with its obligations under the Agreement; and2.2 The Representative indemnifies INSTITUTE against any loss, liability or expense, and any payment or fine arising from an audit by the Australian Taxation Office, State Revenue Office or Workcover authority. This indemnity is a continuous obligation and independent from other obligations of the Representative and survives the termination, for whatever reason of this Agreement.2.3 In addition, the Representative shall indemnify INSTITUTE from and against any claim that may be made against INSTITUTE or the employees of INSTITUTE arising out of any negligent or wilful act or omission in the performance of the Contract Services by the Representative, its employees, servants or agents and also from any costs that may be incurred with any claim.2.4 The Representative warrants that it has not in the past engaged in dishonest or prohibited practices in connection with its activities as an Education Agent, including: (a) facilitating the enrolment of a student whom the Representative believes will not comply with the conditions of his or her student visa; (b) using PRISMS to create a Confirmation of Enrolment for someone other than a bona fide student; (c) providing immigration advice where not authorised to do so under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth); or (d) attempting to recruit a student at a time when: (i) the Representative is or ought reasonably to be aware of the circumstances of the student; and (ii) the circumstances of the student are such that the student would be prohibited from becoming enrolled pursuant to Standard 7 of the National Code – Transfer Between Registered Providers; International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 63
  • 66. 3. WHAT THE REPRESENTATIVE MUST DO 3.1 Under this Agreement the Representative agrees to: (a) provide INSTITUTE with any assistance or information it reasonably requests to allow INSTITUTE to comply with its obligations under the National Code; (b) abide by the highest ethical standards as described in the National Code; (c) promote the Courses in the Territory; (d) find suitable potential students to undertake courses; (e) in accordance with INSTITUTEs procedures and requirements, recruit and assist in the recruitment of students; (f) assist people to become students and for that purpose, provide all necessary information about courses and assistance in completing forms or applications and submitting these to INSTITUTE; (g) arrange for English language proficiency testing of potential students to be carried out through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) by qualified persons in accordance with the Australian Migration Regulations or through an alternative English language proficiency test as prescribed by the Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs for specified countries and visa subclasses from time to time; (h) provide interpreters and free use of office space for joint promotions at mutually agreed dates during visits by INSTITUTE to the Representatives offices upon request from INSTITUTE; (i) regularly monitor the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website at www.immi.gov.au and from time to time or as directed by INSTITUTE, attend local briefings, Australian Education International (AEI) sessions or agents associations meetings or other information sessions concerning the recruitment of overseas students for study in Australia as deemed appropriate by INSTITUTE; and 3.2 In performing and delivering the Services, the Representative must: (a) promote the Courses with integrity and accuracy and recruit students in an honest, ethical and responsible manner; (b) inform prospective students accurately about the requirements of courses. This can only be done by referring students to material provided by INSTITUTE; (c) assist to uphold the high reputation of INSTITUTE and of the Australian international education sector; (d) ensure that all necessary evidence and documents accompany a prospective students application or acceptance of an offer; (e) only undertake promotional and marketing activities which are connected to or make reference to INSTITUTE which have been expressly authorised by INSTITUTE; and (f) conduct itself in a manner consistent with INSTITUTEs obligations under the National Code, including Standard 4.1 set out at Schedule 1. 3.3 INSTITUTE requires the Representative to complete (or have completed) the AEI Education Agent Training Course unless otherwise advised in writing.64 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 67. 3.4 The Representative must provide the following written information to prospective students, before the prospective students make an application to study: (a) all students who come to Australia on a student visa must do so for the primary purpose of studying and must undertake full-time Study; and (b) prospective students are required to notify INSTITUTE in writing of any change in their contact details, such as their Australian residential address and telephone number, which starts after they commence their Course. (c) disclose to prospective students that :- (i) the Representative receives a fee from INSTITUTE; (ii) if a prospective students visa application is refused, INSTITUTE shall refund the students fees to their residential address (not the Representatives address); (iii) INSTITUTEs indicative Course related fees have been quoted. Fees may change during the students course; (iv) applicable refund policies apply [Standard 2.1(3), National Code]; (d) INSTITUTEs campus locations, facilities, equipment and learning and library resources available to students [Standard 2.1(c), National Code]; (e) INSTITUTEs courses (as per CRICOS Registration), including course content, the qualification or accreditation gained on completion, duration, modes of study, assessment methods (including whether other providers are involved in the delivery of the course) and details of any arrangements with other providers, persons or businesses for recognition or completion of the course [Standard 2.1(b) and (d), National Code]; information about living in Australia and the local environment of the relevant campus, including information about campus location, accommodation options and indicative costs of living [Standard 2.1(h)(i) and (ii), National Code]; (f) the requirements for acceptance into a Course, including the minimum level of English language proficiency, educational qualifications and work experience required, and whether course credit may be applicable [Standard 2.1(a) National Code]; (g) information about the grounds on which the students enrolment may be deferred, suspended or cancelled [Standard 2.1(f) National Code]; (h) visa requirements which must be satisfied by the prospective student including English language proficiency levels; (i) conditions imposed on student visas including satisfactory academic performance, attendance requirements and working rights and that INSTITUTE will be required to keep a record of the students academic progress and attendance at classes; (j) INSTITUTE’s obligation to report any failure by a student to meet their visa conditions relating to attendance or academic performance to Australian Government authorities; (k) the requirement that any school age dependants who accompany the student to Australia may be required to pay full fees school when they enrol in either government or non-government schools [Standard 2.1(h)(iii) National Code]; (l) withdrawal arrangements; (m) admission procedures, credit transfers and the recognition of prior learning (RPL) policies at INSTITUTE; (n) a description of the ESOS framework made available electronically by DEEWR [Standard 2.1(g) National Code]; (o) internal and external grievance procedures; and International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 65
  • 68. (p) non-academic student support services of special relevance to international students. 3.5 The Representative must: (a) complete a Marketing Plan in consultation with INSTITUTE (the Marketing Plan). (b) comply with the Marketing Plan when delivering the Services. (c) participate in any review of its delivery of the Marketing Plan when requested by INSTITUTE (d) participate in discussions with INSTITUTE regarding its performance under this agreement upon being given reasonable notice by INSTITUTE. (e) obtain a prospective students details, including their name and residential address (which must not be the Representatives address) (f) send offer documents received from INSTITUTE to the nominated prospective student within 3 business days of receipt of the offer documents by the Representative; (g) within 5 business days of a receipt of fees and charges from a prospective student collect and forward all fees and charges together with the acceptance form to INSTITUTE and fax a copy of the bank draft and acceptance of offer form received from the prospective student to INSTITUTE within 5 business days of receipt from a prospective student; (h) provide INSTITUTE with market intelligence relevant to the recruitment of students in the Territory as requested by INSTITUTE from time to time; 3.6 The Representative gives information in ‘written form’ to a prospective student if it: (a) gives that person a physical copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE; (b) sends by email to an address nominated by that person an electronic copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the names and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE; or (c) gives that person accurate instructions about how to access an electronic copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE. 4. WHAT THE REPRESENTATIVE MUST NOT DO 4.1 The Representative must not: (a) act unethically in performing the Services. Unethical behaviour includes :- (i) discounting of tuition fees, (ii) aiding and abetting in the submission of fraudulent documents for visa purposes, (iii) charging fees for application forms or brochures or misleading or (iv) deceiving prospective students in any way. The use or submission of a fraudulent document is a breach of this Agreement for which INSTITUTE may terminate this Agreement. (b) engage in any dishonest practices, including suggesting to prospective students that they can come to Australia on a student visa with a primary purpose other than full-time study; attempt to recruit a student where :- (i) the Representative is aware or ought reasonably to be aware of the circumstances of the student; and (ii) the circumstances of the student are such that the INSTITUTE would be prohibited from enrolling the student by Standard 7 of the National Code; (c) facilitate applications for prospective students who do not comply with visa requirements;66 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 69. (d) make any representations or offer any guarantees to prospective students in relation to :- (i) whether they will be granted a student visa; or (ii) about residency requirements and status in Australia; the Representative may, however, refer prospective students to the Australian Governments DIAC or to DIACs website at www.immi. gov.au for these purposes; (e) provide prospective students with immigration advice as defined by the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), unless lawfully authorised to do so under that Act; (f) engage in false or misleading advertising or recruitment practices; (g) make any false or misleading comparisons with any other education provider or their courses, or make any inaccurate claims of association of INSTITUTE with any other education provider or organisation; (h) give inaccurate information to a prospective student about acceptance into a course or into any other course; (i) give false or misleading information or advice in relation to the employment outcomes associated with course; (j) give false or misleading information or advice in relation to possible migration outcomes; (k) give false or misleading information or advice in relation to any other claims relating to INSTITUTE, its courses or outcomes associated with its courses; (l) undertake any advertising or promotional activity about the Courses at INSTITUTE or any of its associates, sponsors, business partners or any other organisation without the prior written consent of INSTITUTE. Advertising or promotional activities will be undertaken at the Representatives expense unless otherwise agreed in writing by INSTITUTE in advance; (m) use any written marketing information about INSTITUTE, unless it clearly identifies the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE; (n) receive or bank any fees or charges payable to INSTITUTE by a prospective student or deduct any amount from such fees or charges; (o) give inaccurate information to a prospective student as to fees or charges payable to INSTITUTE; (p) impose any fee on a prospective student for their application or acceptance of offer unless this fee has been disclosed to the student prior to the lodgement of any papers and has been agreed with INSTITUTE. (q) commit INSTITUTE to accept any prospective student into a course and must not make representations that a student will automatically be accepted into a course; (r) use or access PRISMS, the Australia Government electronic enrolment system; and (s) use any registered or unregistered Mark of INSTITUTE without the prior written consent of INSTITUTE.5. WHAT INSTITUTE MUST DO5.1 INSTITUTE must: (a) provide the Representative with information to enable the Representative to provide the Services; (b) inform the Representative about how to gain access to information regarding visa requirements and the process of visa applications; (c) inform the Representative of any changes to visa requirements within a reasonable time after becoming aware of any such changes; (d) process all completed applications received within a reasonable time. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 67
  • 70. 5.2 INSTITUTE may, in its absolute discretion, establish the fees, charges, terms and conditions relating to INSTITUTE’s courses. 5.3 INSTITUTE is not required to accept any prospective students referred by the Representative into any of its courses. 5.4 INSTITUTE will monitor the Representative’s activities by auditing the Representative’s practices and performance twice yearly. 5.5 INSTITUTE may undertake a review of the Representatives performance under this agreement at any time. 6. PRIVACY 6.1 In the course of performing its obligations under this Agreement: (a) the Representative and its employees and agents must comply with the Information Privacy Principles; and (b) the Representative must immediately notify INSTITUTE if the Representative becomes aware of a breach of clause 6 by the Representative or an employee or agent of the Representative. 6.2 The Representative indemnifies INSTITUTE and its employees and agents against any liability incurred or loss or damage suffered by INSTITUTE and its employees and agents by reason of a breach of the Information Privacy Principles. 6.3 Nothing in this clause affects any obligation that the Representative may have to comply with the National Privacy Principles. 7. REPRESENTATIVES FEES 7.1 Subject to the other provisions of this clause 7, INSTITUTE must pay the representative a fee calculated in accordance with Item 3 of Schedule 2 for each student who: (a) is recruited by the Representative; and (b) is enrolled in a course and has commenced that course; (c) has paid the respective Course Fee to INSTITUTE 7.2 For the purposes of this Agreement, a Representative will not be regarded as having recruited a student unless: (a) the Representative submits the students application for enrolment containing the Representative’s name; and (b) the Representative submits an acceptance by the student of any letter of offer of a place in a course from INSTITUTE; and (c) all tuition fees, charges & material costs as outlined in the Letter of Offer provided to the student together with supporting documentation are submitted to INSTITUTE. 7.3 No Fee will be payable by INSTITUTE to the Representative if the student is recruited through INSTITUTE programs for the recruitment of students conducted in Australia. 7.4 If a student withdraws from their course prior to 45 days after the commencement of their course, INSTITUTE will pay the Representative a processing charge of AUD$200.00. 7.5 If a student recruited by the Representative withdraws from their course and enrols in another course offered by INSTITUTE within the students first semester, INSTITUTE agrees to pay the Representatives original fee.68 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 71. 7.6 No Fee is payable by INSTITUTE unless the Representative has submitted an invoice in AUD$ containing the following information: (a) the student’s family name and given names, (b) the student’s residential address, (c) the student’s date of birth, (d) course commencement date of the students course;7.7 The invoice must be in following form: (a) presented on the Representatives letterhead, containing the current address, telephone, fax and email details of the Representative; (b) including the date and an invoice or reference number; and (c) containing such other information as INSTITUTE may require from time to time.7.8 INSTITUTE must pay the Fees payable under this clause 7 on the receipt of an invoice from the Representative and no later than 60 days after the student has commenced the Course.7.9 If there is a dispute regarding whether a Representative has recruited a student, or a student has submitted their own documentation or for any other reason, INSTITUTE has an absolute discretion to determine whether the Representative recruited a student for the purposes of clause 7.7.10 If there is a dispute between two or more Representatives concerning the recruitment of a student, INSTITUTE has an absolute discretion to pay the Representative that it determines has recruited the student.7.11 No commission or fees will be payable by INSTITUTE on group or project activities either in Australia or overseas (the programs).7.12 INSTITUTE will provide the Representative with a total price for the programs and the minimum and maximum number of participants per group.7.13 The Representative will be responsible for covering its own costs associated with the program and determining the fee per participant.7.14 INSTITUTE may request any student to provide it with information about the fees or charges paid or payable by the student to the Representative and other information. This information may be considered during any Review of the Representative by INSTITUTE.7.15 The Representative must submit to INSTITUTE a tax invoice in respect of the Services once they are completed, or at such other time or times as agreed by the parties. A tax invoice submitted for payment must contain the information necessary to be a tax invoice for the purposes of the GST Act together with such information as INSTITUTE may reasonably require and be sent to the address specified in Schedule 2 of this Agreement.7.16 Payment of an invoice is not taken as evidence that the Services have been supplied in accordance with the Agreement but must be taken only as payment on account.7.17 INSTITUTE will, on demand by the Representative, pay simple interest on a daily basis on any overdue amount, at the rate for the time being fixed under section 2 of the Penalty Interest Rates Act 1983 (Vic)7.18 For the purposes of clause 7.17, “overdue amount” means an amount (or part thereof) that is not, or is no longer, disputed in accordance with this Agreement: (a) that is due and owing under a tax invoice (as defined in A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) properly rendered by the Representative in accordance with this Agreement; and (b) which has been outstanding for more than 30 days from the date of invoice or the date that the amount ceased to be disputed, as the case may be. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 69
  • 72. 7.19 The Representative must provide an Australian Business Number (“ABN”) and will not be entitled to any payment under this clause unless the Representative obtains an ABN. 8. DISPUTE DETERMINATION 8.1 If any dispute arises between the parties in relation to the effect of this agreement and that dispute is not mutually resolved within one (1) calendar month, the parties may appoint a person who may be a senior member of INSTITUTE or a person independent of INSTITUTE to resolve the dispute, failing which the dispute may be referred to arbitration in accordance with the laws relating to arbitration in force in the State of Victoria. 8.2 At such arbitration each of the parties may be represented by a qualified legal practitioner. 8.3 The costs of the arbitration shall be dealt with as follows: (a) the costs of each of the parties shall be borne by the party that incurred them and not by any other party; and (b) the fees and expenses of the arbitrator and any costs of the arbitration shall be borne equally by the parties. 9. GST 9.1 Words or expressions used in this clause which are defined in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) or, if not so defined, which are defined in the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), have the same meaning in this clause. 9.2 Any consideration to be paid or provided for a supply made under or in connection with this Agreement, unless specifically described in this Agreement as GST inclusive, does not include an amount on account of GST. 9.3 Despite any other provision in this Agreement, if the Representative makes a supply under or in connection with this Agreement on which GST is imposed (not being a supply the consideration for which is specifically described in this Agreement as GST inclusive): (a) the consideration payable or to be provided for that supply under this Agreement but for the application of this clause (GST exclusive consideration) is increased by, and INSTITUTE must also pay to the Representative, an amount equal to the GST payable by the Representative on that supply; and (b) the amount by which the GST exclusive consideration is increased must be paid to the Representative by INSTITUTE without set off, deduction or requirement for demand, at the same time as the GST exclusive consideration is payable or to be provided. 9.4 If a Fee relates to a supply upon which GST is imposed, the Representative must provide to INSTITUTE a Tax Invoice in AUD$. 10. CONFIDENTIALITY 10.1 The Representative acknowledges that all documents, data and information disclosed by INSTITUTE is ‘Confidential Information’ and shall be used only for the purposes of this Agreement. The Representative shall keep all information confidential and may disclose it only to its officers and employees in connection with this Agreement. Before disclosure, the Representative shall direct that its officers and employees keep the information confidential. 10.2 The obligations of this clause 10 are continuing obligations and shall not cease on termination of this Agreement. 10.3 The information contained in this agreement and the Marketing Plan is also confidential information and is not to be divulged to any third party unless required by law.70 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 73. 11. ASSIGNMENT AND SUBCONTRACTING11.1 The Representative must not assign its obligations under this agreement to any third party unless the Representative has first obtained the written consent of INSTITUTE.11.2 If INSTITUTE agrees to an assignment of the Representatives obligations under clause 11.1, the Representative agrees that it will retain responsibility for its obligations under this Agreement.11.3 The Representative must provide any assignee with copies of this Agreement and ensure that the assignee undertakes to comply with the terms of this agreement.11.4 The Representative must provide INSTITUTE with the names and contact details of all assignees and copies of the documentation by which they are appointed within 5 business days after such assignment.12. TERMINATION OF THE AGREEMENT12.1 This agreement is automatically terminated when INSTITUTE becomes aware or reasonably suspects that the Representative: (a) is engaged in or has been previously engaged in dishonest practices, including the deliberate attempts to recruit the student where this clearly conflicts with the Representatives obligations in this agreement. (b) facilitates the enrolment of a student who INSTITUTE believes will not comply with the terms of his/ her student VISA. (c) uses PRISMS to create confirmation of enrolment other than of a bona fide student. (d) provides advice when not authorised to do so under the Migration Act 1958.12.2 Either party may terminate this agreement by giving the other party 30 days notice in writing.12.3 INSTITUTE may terminate this agreement by INSTITUTE giving notice to the Representative that the Representative has breached a provision of this Agreement including if INSTITUTE is directed or required so to do by a relevant Australian government department. In such cases, termination will be effective immediately upon the service of the notice.12.4 Notification of termination under clause 12.3 will be sent to the Representative and the nearest Australian Diplomatic Mission and other relevant government bodies.12.5 If the Agreement is ended by either party, the Representative must: (a) submit to INSTITUTE all applications and Course Fees from prospective students received up to the date of termination; and (b) immediately cease to use any advertising, promotional or other material supplied by INSTITUTE and return such material to INSTITUTE by registered mail or by a reputable international courier.12.6 This Agreement will lapse if the Representative does not refer any international students to INSTITUTE within the first 12 months of this agreement or such other time as agreed in writing with INSTITUTE.12.7 Termination of this Agreement does not affect any accrued rights or remedies of either party.13. CONTINUATION OF THE AGREEMENT13.1 Where the parties agree in writing, this Agreement may continue and its terms may be extended for a period of 12 months or such other time as is agreed in writing by the parties International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 71
  • 74. 14. NOTICES AND VARIATIONS 14.1 This Agreement can only be altered in writing, signed by both parties. 14.2 Any notice under this Agreement must be in writing and sent by prepaid post, facsimile or electronic mail to the address of the other party specified in Item 4 of Schedule 2, or such revised address as is notified to the other party in accordance with Clause 14.3. 14.3 A party that changes its address, facsimile number or electronic mail address must give notice of that change to the other party within a reasonable time. 14.4 From time to time the parties may agree to additional activities being undertaken by the Representative which activities shall to be identified in separate Schedules attached to this Agreement. 14.5. The parties agree to vary this Agreement if required because of changes to relevant Acts, the National Code or Regulations. 15. AGREEMENT 15.1 This Agreement replaces and supersedes any agreement or arrangement between the parties in relation to its subject matter. 16. APPLICABLE LAW 16.1 This Agreement is governed by and is to be construed in accordance with the law in force in the State of XXXX, Australia. 16.2 The parties agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the State of XXXX, Australia, including the Federal Court of Australia. 17. DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATION OF THIS AGREEMENT 17.1 In this Agreement: INSTITUTE means [full name] Institute of Technical and Further Education Marketing Plan means a Plan for the activities of the Representative in the format in [Schedule 3]; Courses means the Full-time Registered courses offered by INSTITUTE and registered in accordance with the requirements of the ESOS Act; Course Fee means the tuition and other fees for Courses set by INSTITUTE; CRICOS means the Commonwealth Register of Institutes and Courses for Overseas Students; Education Agent means a person or organisation representing INSTITUTE which recruits overseas students and refers them to INSTITUTE; ESOS Act means the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 of the Commonwealth of Australia, as amended from time to time; Fee means the fees and commission outlined in clause 7 of this Agreement; Full-time and Full-time Study means the amount of study for a particular Course which is approved by the accrediting authority for the Course, or in cases where the accrediting authority gives no such approval, means the amount of full-time study per week determined by the designated authority; Information Privacy Principles means the Information Privacy Principles under the Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic). Institute means the [full name] Provider (INSTITUTE); ‘Market Intelligence’ is the information relevant to a company’s markets, gathered and analysed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy and market development metrics.72 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 75. Marks means logos, trade marks, designs, crests that belong to or carry the name of INSTITUTE and anyvariations or modifications thereto.National Code means the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Educationand Training to Overseas Students, established pursuant to Part 4 of the ESOS Act, as amended from timeto time;National Privacy Principles means the National Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).Personal Information means information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming partof a database),that is recorded in any form and whether true ornot, about an individual whose identity isapparent, or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion.‘PRISMS’ means the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (the electronicsystem that holds CRICOS and electronic confirmation of enrolment details);Prospective student means a person (whether within or outside Australia) who intends to become, or whohas taken any steps towards becoming, a Student including an overseas student or intending overseasstudent as defined by the ESOS Act;Representative means an Education Agent.Review means a review of the Business Plan which may be conducted by INSTITUTE and the Representativeat the expiration of the Term or at any other time; Services means all of the services and obligationsdescribed in clause 0;Student means a person (whether within or outside Australia) who holds a student visa including anoverseas student as defined by the ESOS Act;‘TAFE’ means Technical and Further Education;Territory means the countries or regions specified in Item 2 of Schedule 2;Term means the period for which the Representative is engaged as described‘Written information’ includes; (a) Giving a person a physical copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE; (b) Sending by email to an address nominated by that person an electronic copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE; (c) giving that person accurate instructions about how to access an electronic copy of the information in printed form, and the information includes the name and CRICOS number of INSTITUTE.17.2 A word or phrase used in this Agreement that is defined in the National Code has the same meaning as it has in the National Code.17.3 In this Agreement: (a) headings are for ease of reference only and do not affect the meaning of this Agreement; (b) the singular includes the plural and vice versa and words importing a gender includes the other gender; (c) other grammatical forms of defined words or expressions have corresponding meanings; (d) including and other similar expressions are not words of limitation; and (e) money is in Australian dollars unless otherwise stated and reference to AUD or A$ is a reference to Australian currency. International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 73
  • 76. 9. Example of Education Agent Certificate of Appointment <Insert Logo> CERTIFICATE OF APPOINTMENT Authorised Education Agent representing <organisation> This is to certify that <Education Agent Company> Has the authority to provide information on courses and assist prospective students with their application and enrolment process with <organisation>. This is in accordance with the ESOS Act (2000) and The National Code (2007). <<Contract Signing Date>> until <Contract Expiry Date>> Signed:74 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 77. 10. Example of Order Form for Promotional MaterialsOrder Form for Promotional MaterialsContact NameCompany NameCompany Postal AddressEmail Phone No:We wish to request the following promotional materials:Materials QuantityPlease complete this form and return to:<contact name><Organisation><Address><Email><Fax> International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 75
  • 78. 11. Example of Agents Manual Contents – Version 1 1. Welcome 2. General information for students and agents a. Studying and living in <where your RTO location> b. About your organisation c. Discipline areas d. Course information e. How to apply f. Credit transfer (RPL) g. Fees h. International scholarships i. Pre-departure and arrival j. Orientation k. Late arrival 3. Application Submission a. Application procedures b. Contact details c. How to track application 4. General Financial Procedures a. How to invoice b. When to invoice c. What to invoice d. Refunds e. Contact details 5. Marketing a. How to order promotional materials b. Contact details c. Events and exhibitions attending over the next twelve months 6. Communication a. Upcoming agent events b. E-News letter c. Training and communication opportunities d. Feedback form 7. Links a. ESOS b. DIAC c. DEEWR76 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 79. 12. Sample Agents Manual Contents (ISANA Report) - Version 21211 • Section A – Responsibilities of the agent • Section B – How to find current and accurate marketing information • Section C – How to find information on education providers and their courses • Section D – Rights and responsibilities of the student and EP • Section E – Student Preparation: Pre departure issues • Section F – Student Preparation: Post arrival issues • Section G – Policy: Policies and regulations within education providers • Section H – Policy: Course fees and refunds • Section I – Course: Academic progression and attendance requirements • Section J – Course: Changing course • Section K – Migration: Visa requirements and conditions • Section L – General: Cost of living, managing finances and employment • Section M – General: Accommodation services • Section N – General: Health and safety matters • Section O – Welfare: Welfare and support systems • Section P – Welfare: Cross Cultural issues and everyday Australian life • Section Q – Welfare: Social inclusion • Section R – Reference: Resources and LinksAppendices • Appendix A1 : Step-by-step International Admissions Process • Appendix A2 : Step-by-step International Admissions Process - description • Appendix B: The Australian Qualifications Framework • Appendix C: Agent’s Checklist: what you need to know about your students’ education provider12 Source: http://www.isana.org.au/files/EducationAgentsManual.pdf International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 77
  • 80. 78 Company Contact Approved Representative Agreement Agreement Agent Id Email Phone Postal Address Name Person Territory/ies Since Signed Date Renewal Date Note: If this register is developed in Excel you can then sort agents within certain territories, agents with a similar renewal date, etc.International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 13. Sample of Agent Database / Register
  • 81. Territory/ Communication Training Marketing Agent ies Channels and Contact and Promotions E-News Letter Agent Visits Familiarisation Agent Distribution of Promotions Agent Events Marketing Portal Tour Training promotional Budget material Name Brisbane x4 year x1 x1 x2 linked to student Any special Any events Details of of access year targets promotions that agent is marketing xx/xx/11 agent agreed upon organizing budget for each x2 boxes xx/xx/11 and being territory or each offered by agent. xx/xx/11 agent xx/xx/11 China x1 x1 x1 box Access Hong x1 x1 x1 box Kong Access 14. Sample of an Agent Annual Communication PlanInternational Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 79
  • 82. 15. Sample of Performance Review of Agent Template Performance Review Assessment Agent I.D Agent Name Territory/ies Agent Address Agent Sub branches Contract Expiry Contract signed / expired Rank performance on the following scale. 1 = Exceeded expectations, 2 = Met expectations, 3 = Failed to meet expectations. Performance Criteria (KPIs) 1 = Exceeded 2 = Met 3 = Did not Target Students Actual Students % change from last review period Compliance Compliance with ESOS Act Compliance with DIAC requirements Compliance with Code of Conduct Customer Service Application processing Response to enquiries Student satisfaction Admissions staff satisfaction Marketing and Promotions Request for additional marketing material Use of marketing material Outcome of promotional activities Effective use of marketing budget Incentives Did agent qualify for any incentives? Training and Qualifications Has agent completed any further training or qualifications? Details of training and qualifications Feedback from Agent Any comments or feedback from agent concerning partnership?80 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 83. 16. Example of an Renewal of Education Agents Contract Letter<<date>><<Click here and type recipient’s name>>Dear <<agents name>>RE: Offer to Renew Educational Representative Agreement.I am writing to you to extend an offer to renew your appointment as <<your organisation>>educational agent for <<territories>>.<<your organisation>> values the development of a long term mutually beneficial partnershipwith your organisation and would like to formalise this commitment through the signing of arenewed Educational Representative Agreement.It is with pleasure that we enclose two copies of the Educational Representative Agreementbetween <<agents company>> and <<your organisation>>, in accordance with the ESOS Act(2000).If you would like to accept this offer please sign both agreements and return one to us at yourearliest convenience. Once we have received confirmation of your acceptance through receiptof the signed contract we will forward your Agent Certificate of Appointment, brochures andpromotional material order form.We thank you for your support and look forward to a long and continued successful partnership.Yours sincerely,<<Click here and type your name>><<Click here and type job title>> International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 81
  • 84. 17. Example of Non-Renewal of Contract Letter <<date>> <<Click here and type recipient’s name>> Dear <<agents name>> RE: Educational Representative Agreement. I am writing to you in relation to your appointment as an educational representative for <<your organisation>>. The current contract between <<your organisation>> and <<agents company>> expires on <<date>>. During our review process it has come to our attention that you have not recruited any students for us in the last twelve month / OR <<territory>> is no longer a target market for our organisation// OR you have not met any performance indicators for the last twelve months. For this reason we will not be renewing our contract with you. If you disagree with this decision you have the right to appeal. Please contact {your organisation} for information on the appeal process. We thank you for your support and wish you future success in your business. Yours sincerely <<Click here and type your name>> <<Click here and type job title>>82 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide
  • 85. 18. Example of Letter of Termination<<date>><<Click here and type recipient’s name>>Dear <<agents name>>RE: Notice of Termination of Educational Representative AgreementI am writing to you in relation to the educational representative agreement between <<yourorganisation>> and <<agent>>. The contract was effective between <<start date>> and <<enddate>>.It has come to our attention that <<agent>> has << insert reason>>. As you have failed to meetthe obligations of the contract we hereby give you notice that under the conditions of thetermination clause we are terminating the agreement effective from <<date>>.As outlined in the contract you are required to: • submit all applications and fees to <<your organisation>> up to the date of termination, • cease to use any of our promotional material and return any that has not been used.If you wish to discuss this decision further please contact <<name>> at <<organisation>>.We thank you for your support and wish you future success in your business.Yours sincerely,<<Click here and type your name>><<Click here and type job title>> International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide 83
  • 86. 4. Appendices List of Acronyms Acronym Full Name AEI Australian Education International AQTF Australian Quality Training Framework COE Confirmation of Enrolment CRM Customer Relationship Management DEEWR Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations DIAC Department of Immigration and Citizenship ELICOS English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students ESOS Education Services for Overseas Student Act KPI Key Performance Indicator LOE Letter of Offer MARA Migration Agents Registration Authority PIER Professional International Education Resources QEAC Qualitative Education Agents Counsellors QETI Queensland Education and Training International RTO Registered Training Organisation TQI TAFE Queensland International VET Vocational Education and Training84 International Education Agent Management | A Best Practice Guide