Agents Speak Out
How influential is commission in an agent's recommendation of schools to students?
Marcela Amaral
IE Intercambio, Brazil
"We believe that commission is important since that is where our revenue comes from. However, it does not define, by any means, the school we will refer the student to go to. We only recommend schools we are partnered with because we take [recommending schools] very seriously. Before the school comes into our portfolio, we try to visit the school and do our own background checks to see if their facilities, teachers and teaching methods are acceptable according to our standards. We also do some research into previous students and their feedback before signing up any agreement with that school. We do not believe that an agent's commission creates any kind of conflict of interest when consulting with a student. If we start sending students to one particular school because of the amount of commission paid, we will eventually have issues with students that are not fit for that school, and then they will cost us much more money than the commission we get. A student complaining in any market is harmful to everyone involved, especially the agent."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Sezer Turk
CEO Education, Turkey
"For agencies, our first priority needs to be good reputation which can be achieved by happy students. To make students happy, their demands and goals should be considered and, [which means] offering them the university which fits them best. By doing this, you do not even check which university offers more commission. Since word-of-mouth is the most efficient way to recruit students, why would someone want their business to look bad by not giving the clients what they want, just for more commission?"
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Ksenia Komrakova
Pass into Europe, Russia
"Commission rate doesn't make any influence for me as long as it's paid. Most of the schools pay more or less the same, thus I don't even check the commission rate when I recommend a school to my client. What is more important for me is how flexible a school is and how satisfied its students are. I don't think that agents' commission creates a conflict of interest. Moreover, I am confident that agents should work on commission and not on a net basis, because in this case schools and agents would have different rates, and also they would differ from one agency to another. When you work on commission, prices are the same at schools and in agencies."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Olga Dolinskaya
Students' Land, Russia
"While advising students on academic programmes' choice, we consider several main points: the students' most cherished dreams, ambitions, future professional goals and their real potential. Our aim is to evaluate all these aspects, find the best possible match between the student's background and the academic programme to choose,  and then design an individual application strategy for every client student. The students apply for several universities (usually three or four) from very selective to the 'safety' ones. As we are very successful with our applications, our students usually get offers from all the universities they have applied. The final decision of which university to enrol is up to the students; it's their own choice and very often it is not our partner university. So we consider getting commission as an additional bonus and not as a main focus of our work."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Lilian Gomes
Intercâmbio Expert, Brazil
"We strongly believe that the main focus of our job is to match the right school and right programme to the student so they can have the best experience abroad, which leads us to referrals and great reputation from the student. This increases our sales and therefore makes a profitable business.  Saying that, commission rate helps us to choose among the selected schools to a specific student. We don't believe the commission is the main factor or could cause conflict, but the higher commission does help on the decision process."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Thiago España
World Study, Brazil
"I believe that our job as an agent is to try and match the best school for that specific student profile. This is the reason why we exist and first thing always. Here at World Study, we put limits on promotions and bonuses to advisers and not to give them the double command, 'Do what you believe is better for the student, and focus on these specific schools'. We can't do both. When we reach a moment where we have two similar schools and both will meet the student's needs, I agree to look at commission to decide, no problem."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Dejan Trpkovic
Verbalists Language Network, Serbia
"We select our partner educators first and foremost by reviewing schools' reputation, tuition and pricing strategy, quality of teaching, accommodation, as well as student/agent satisfaction and support services. Only after we create a partnership with a certain school or university based on the aforementioned criteria, does our agency commission becomes a focus point in the consequent negotiations with an educator. When deciding on schools that we want to represent we imagine that we are students, but with the knowledge and experience of an education consultancy. So, in that sense, our students get to enrol in the best schools/universities without any commission 'distortions'. Although we do recommend schools that are not our main partners, this is less likely, not so much because of commission arrangements, but rather due to the fact that the service level in those cases may not be as high as with our established partners."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Ivan Eduardo Tagliaferro
English Experience Intercâmbios, Brazil
"However important commission is, we do not recommend schools based on it. We understand that every student is different; therefore, we do our best to find the best fit for the student. We do not recommend schools we are not partnered with because we believe that education is all about relationships and trust. We can't recommend students to a school we have no relation with whatsoever. Our consultants don't even know the commission offered by the schools. We believe that when you work to find the best school for the students, even when the commission is not substantial, the positive feedback we get from students and the word-of-mouth that will follow more than make up for any commission difference."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017
Loredana Croce
ERC - Euroeduca, Italy
"Quality of the educational offer and the best match with the student's requirements and profile are our priority. In a number of cases, we have recommended, as the best option, schools we were not even partnered with. As a result, the bulk of our business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations. Having safeguarded the criteria of students at the centre of our business, it is commission that enables us to offer a quality, personalised service to our clients. Prospective students are faced with the task of surfing the internet and few have first-hand knowledge of the EFL market, thus seeking the services offered by professional counsellors to select the most appropriate school."
Article published: 23 Jun 2017