At their 2013 conference Saturday, the National Association for College Admission Counseling recommended that college officials do not pay agents to recruit international students to schools such as Boston University, according to various news sources.
In a 152 to 47 vote, NACAC changed its rules to now state: “If members choose to use incentive-based agents when working with international students outside the U.S., they will ensure accountability, transparency and integrity.”
Several colleges rely on paid agents to recruit foreign students, while other institutions feel this recruiting tactic is unethical due to the perceived inorganic nature of recruiting when done for money.
Su Lau, an international student and School of Management sophomore, said she is from Peru and was not approached by an international recruiter while she was applying to colleges.
“I definitely think it [recruiting international students] is important, not because it looks good for the school to have a large amount of international students, but because the experience [application process] for students themselves is that much better,” Lau said.
However, Lau also said recruiters from U.S. colleges might have a biased view of American colleges, and could therefore give slanted information to international students looking to apply to schools.
Since international student enrollment has spiked over the last few admissions cycles, particularly in graduate programs, those in favor of paid agents said they are vital for U.S. institutions to maintain a competitive edge over other schools around the world, according to various news sources.
Several news sources said U.S. colleges could ensure they get best-fit students by providing families with paid-agents who can guide them through the admissions process.
However, those in opposition said paying agents to recruit international students gives off the impression that the institution is willing to put a profit margin ahead of its students’ needs.
Joseph Foster, a College of Communication junior, said it is important for institutions to send agents to other nations because a good student can come from anywhere around the globe.
“It makes sense for the colleges to do that [pay agents to recruit] financially speaking,” Foster said. “… It is moral because they do send recruiters out through the American school districts, so I think it still provides both international students and local or national students equal opportunity.”
Foster said international students are a vital part to the American higher education system because they can help spread ideas and learning all across the globe, providing unique perspectives on various issues and topics.
Emiko Lytell, a COM sophomore, said it is a good idea to send agents to recruit international students to U.S. colleges because those living abroad may not know about schools such as BU and might not be introduced to them.
“It’s important to get international kids here because it will add variety to your classroom and you’ll meet other people who you wouldn’t normally have otherwise met,” Lytell said. “Maybe some people who live in other countries wouldn’t have known about BU or wouldn’t have thought of it as an option if someone hadn’t told them about it.”