1 PRESENTATION Finding the RIGHT International Partners Brittany Kirby, ICEF Zehra Angel Ahmed, GNET Global Network
2 INTRODUCTION What we ll talk about The total international enrolment in two-year colleges in the US has fallen slightly over the past few years. However, given the increasing interest among US educators in expanding international enrolment at the undergraduate level, it seems clear that community colleges have an important role to play and that they are taking steps to build their capacity to attract international students. Landscape of International Recruitment for CC Common Recruitment Strategies Using International Recruitment Agents Channels to Support and engage Agents 2
3 LANDSCAPE Currently over 5 million students studying abroad 8 million international students expected by 2025 Community colleges are an increasingly important pathway for international students to access US higher education. In 2013/14, almost 9% or 70,000 of the nearly 900,000 international students studying on US campuses were enrolled at associate degreegranting institutions, as reported in the Institute for International Education s* 33% of all Undergrad International Students employed Agents** 57% of Chinese undergrads in the USA employed agents*** *(IIE) 2014 Open Doors Report. **The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), Student Barometer, 2014 **University of Iowa survey, NACAC Journal of College Admissions,
4 INFOGRAPHIC Top five countries of origin for International Student at US Community Colleges China South Korea Vietnam Japan Mexico 4
5 BEST PRACTICES Common Recruitment Strategy for Community Colleges: 2+2 programmes with four-year institutions, in particular through in-state articulation agreements. f Agents Colleges also offer individualized transfer plans for students to make sure their courses meet university requirements. While domestic students attending community colleges tend to transfer in-state, international students are often open to a wider range of transfer options. Community colleges in the Seattle area, coordinate an international transfer fair every fall and spring. Armchair Recruiting Collaborative model with foreign partner institutions that offer the college s curriculum overseas Contracting with Agents 5
6 EAIE Marketing & Recruitment Survey July 2013 Which of these recruitment channels is most important to your institution? 6
7 What is an education agent? An individual, a company or an institution that provides educational advice, support and placement to students wishing to study abroad For you? A person or an organization abroad that markets your institution, generates inquiries and qualified applicants 7
8 Why education agents are important Agents are a low risk, low cost way of getting involved in international student recruitment activity They provide fast, direct access to specific local markets In some countries, 60 to 80% of int'l students go through agents Their contribution in terms of student numbers are significant They do not just provide quantity, but also student quality Agents can save work & time for admissions departments 8
9 What agents can do for you Represent you on a year round basis Provide you with reliable local market information Distribute your promotional material regularly Advertise in targeted local media Represent you at local fairs and college days Provide you with a local infrastructure Arrange student appointments & presentation opportunities Improve your application -> admission conversion rates Pass on post-study feedback (positive/negative) 9
10 What agents do for students Agents constitute a trustworthy and accountable local contact They give local language advice to students - and parents! Good agents can suggest an optimal institution / student match Agents provide valuable counseling services They also deliver useful added-value services If needed, they can provide telephone & support 10
11 CHART Main concerns before departing What are the main concerns, complaints, and questions from students and parents before departing? 55% 53% 41% 41% 24% 21% 11% 4% Financial Difficulty Difficulty with Accommodation Difficulty with Teaching Staff Base No: 1,117 11
12 CHART Main concerns before and after departing 55% 53% 41% 41% 37% 41% What are the main concerns, complaints, and questions from 28% 19% 15% 24% 21% 25% 21% students and parents 11% before departing? 4% 2% Financial Difficulty Personal Safety Cultural Difficulties Difficulty with Teaching Staff BEFORE DEPARTING AFTER DEPARTING Base No: 1,117 12
13 How to select agents: some key questions What geographical area do they cover? Company history - how long have they been in business? What is their company structure & number of staff? How many students do they handle each year? What other institutions do they represent (#, type, location)? Can they provide references? Are they members of an association? Do they follow professional standards? What is their promotional and marketing strategy? Availability of testing facilities? 13
14 Appointing agents: a written agreement is necessary Define respective roles & responsibilities Mention business plan (marketing strategy, budget) Give key performance indicators (quantity, quality) Outline exact compensation model Exclusivity if and when Dispute resolution guidelines Duration of contract including termination clauses 14
15 How to train your agents Provide comprehensive information - on your institution, course offerings and admissions procedures Conduct agents training (briefings, video, DVD, web) giving regular updates Produce an agents manual (contact information, program descriptions, accommodation options, admissions procedures, student services, financial aspects ) Organize agent familiarization trips increases agent s knowledge of courses, location, accommodation creates and enhances personal relationships 15
16 How to support your agents Keep in touch (regular visits and communications - telephone, , fax, visits) and always respond promptly Provide regular updates on new developments (letters, newsletters, blasts, e-zines ) Follow predefined, budgeted marketing plan and provide 1st class marketing assistance (hardcopy / CD / web) 16 Set up monitoring and review procedures
17 CHART Top 10 criteria in marketing for institutions How important is this criteria in terms of marketing for institutions? Quick response times to enquiries and applications and regular communication updates (1030) Agent manual with fees and information (1035) Prompt payment of commissions (1029) Financial support schemes, including scholarship/bursary schemes (1023) Agent training workshops organised in the destination country (1030) Having guaranteed entry to specific education institution programs (1015) Regular visits by you and/or your staff to the education institution (1019) Participation in an Agent Incentive scheme (1002) 93% 91% 90% 90% 88% 88% 88% 88% Availability of an online application service (1026) 86% 24-hour turnaround on admissions documents (1009) 86% Base No: 1,117 17
18 Some words on compensation Commission on tuition fee (10-25%) Set fee per head Retainer fee over defined time period Student is charged (advising / handling / service fee) Payment procedures should be clearly stipulated and strictly adhered to Important - student fees should always be received before the student arrives
19 Motivation and incentives Financial incentives Standard / variable commission rates Bonus schemes (student volume & quality) Non-financial incentives Fam trips, scholarships, free courses for agent staff Organize competitions (free gifts / useful items) Best is combination of both set up a performance based agent incentive program with points and prizes 19
20 In summary Select agents carefully, ensure that they are of quality Only appoint agents suitable to your institution Ensure that they are part of an integrated marketing plan Make sure you leverage them in your other marketing activities (internet, exhibitions, advertising) Invest sufficient time and resources right from the start Communicate regularly with and support them effectively 20 Review your requirements and contracts periodically
21 Brittany Kirby Business Development Manager ICEF, GmbH icef.com 21
22 International Development Building Rewarding Partnerships Prepared by: Zehra Angel Ahmed
23 International Initiatives Business Development Marketing Admissions + Enrollment Outreach Strategy Education Agencies School Partnerships Alumni Education USA Fairs/Events Digital Profiles International Branding Website and Social Media Lead Nurturing Prospect Management Applicant to Enrollment Documentation verification F1 Visa Process International Student Support
24 Admission and Enrollment Admissions Strategic outreach Effective follow-up Applicant requirements Admission Acceptance Enrollment Applicant communication Document verification I-20 Issuance Visa Interview preparation Student Services Transition steps to US Registration/Orientation Student Activities Active student I-20 updates
25 Meeting Quality Agents Come Prepared Read the ICEF/AIRC Agency Profiles Questionnaire Consistently Attend Meet new agents Reconnect with existing partners Regional Power Brings agents from an entire region into one room.
26 Identifying Agency Partners Simple Application for the Agent How long have you been recruiting and how many staff members does your agency have? How many students do you recruit to the USA on a yearly basis? Reference Checks Schedule immediate follow-up with U.S. recruitment personnel. Via phone, skype or our in-country network. Get to know the agent: Who are they? How do they conduct business? Familiarize the agent with your university Strategize how to best work together.
27 RESEARCH A N A L Y Z E Attend ICEF Join AIRC Provide Training / Support In-Country Visits Invest in your Partnerships Follow-up Communication with Agents Strategize Marketing Plans with Realistic Target Goals S T R A T E G I Z E EXECUTE
28 Partner Training Agency In-Country Visits (Outreach & Admissions Teams) Virtual Training (Skype, Webinar and Go-To-Training) Proprietary Agency Training Manual Various media communication ( Campaign, Social Media and News Letters) Utilize internal resources to assist with training agents (Professors, Counselors and Alumni)
29 Steps to Success STEP 1 STEP 2 Simplify Admission & Enrollment Process Identify a key employee as a contact person specifically for Agency students and assist them through Admission & Enrollment Process. Steps to Success Processing Student Documents Help students secure documents necessary to obtain I-20. STEP 3 Create I-20 and Prepare for Visa Interview Institution should provide support for students that comes through agency channel. STEP 4 Help Students to Start Their Degree Program Partner with Agencies to transition students into college life.
30 Creating a Rewarding Partnership
31 Leadership Travel COMMUNICATION Support Fairs & Events Financial Incentives Standard Commission Agreement Elite Partner Incentives
32 How We Have Learned Not every agent or market is the same. = Signing a contract does not mean automatic application flow. Regional staff to support agencies Consistent Communication & Follow-Up Agencies help support the student, add value to retention and market your school.
34 Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. - Henry Ford Zehra Angel Ahmed Thank You