Imagine a World Without Education Agents (I Wonder If You Can)

Here’s my latest essay for University World News. The title is intended to be provocative but tells only part of the story. The spotlight is on what many of us refer to as the fatal flaw in commissions-based international student recruitment. Read the entire essay to find out the rest. Start with the above summary or this excerpt to whet your appetite for more (or not).

In their recent essay, Agents Are the Problem, about a bizarre provision in the THRIVE (Training in High Demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment) Act that prohibits US higher education institutions from paying commissions for international students, none of whom are veterans of US wars, Philip Altbach and Liz Reisberg present a compelling and updated case against the use of education agents.

As expected, some of the usual self-interested suspects quickly circled the wagons on social media. One éminence grise snorted contemptuously, “Same old song from the same old singers. So out of step with the realities of institutional constraints, as well as the realities of international business.” In other words, lady and gentleman, get with the program – as if there are no feasible alternatives to the use of education agents as a hotly debated tool in the international student recruitment arsenal.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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