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US higher education recruiters lag behind other nations

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The US recruits international students for higher education in a highly competitive global market, but is not keeping up with recruitment results of other nations. According to Professor Mitch Leventhal, co-founder of American International Recruitment Council (AIRC), the US is lagging behind recruitment efforts seen in Australia and Britain, and in fact is falling way behind in implementing crucial ways to compete internationally. Leventhal noted that the US market has fallen behind on efforts to establish cross border university partnerships and profitable agent-institution relationships that are important to recruitment efforts.

Leventhal, Professor of Professional Practice & Entrepreneurship at SUNY University of Albany, spoke last week at the British Universities International Liaison Association (BUILA) 10th annual conference, where he addressed delegates telling them, “The British and the Australians are 10 to 15 years ahead in terms of sophistication of the staff and the leadership of universities.” He made recommendations to turn this inequity around. Among his suggestions, Leventhal said double-degree programs between nations could “soften the blow of competitors” for institutions both in and out of the US.”

Leventhal said. “There are opportunities for institutions to work together to provide combined programs and to jointly market and then share the pie.”

Almost one year ago the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) made a groundbreaking decision allowing its 13,000 members to use commission-based education agents to recruit international students. Leventhal predicts that over the next years the use of such agents in the US will become widespread, but emphasized that the US needs to work on improving quality standards for consistency in order to effectively compete with other student destinations.

Making a comparison to Australia where there is a consistency throughout the university sector among agency contracts, Leventhal defines agent contracts in the US as “all over the place.”

Leventhal noted, “Unlike Australia where commission levels are similar across all institutions, the US has a wide variation and that means the possibility of agents steering a student abased on the fee is greater in the US than say in Australia,”

He went on to warn, “This lack of convergence on standards is also going to slow down America’s ability to really be an effective recruiter.”

AIRC, founded in 2008, has put effort into bringing US higher education institutions and education agents together to ensure quality standards in international recruitment. High standards are fundamental to increasing international student numbers.

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