University of Virginia

Your overseas competition

Did you know that colleges use commission-based agents to recruit foreign students? These students are enrolling at colleges all across the country, colleges that are turning down U.S. students.

The Wall Street Journal has a thorough piece on this relationship. Let’s look at some of the highlights.

Chinese students in the U.S. increased 41% in the two years from 2012-2014.

Colleges typically pay an agent 10 to 15% of the first year tuition for a foreign student who enrolls.

Foreign students pay agents too. Reports of $25,000-$30,000 paid for made up essays and application packages.

Colleges are well aware of the rampant fraud but do very little to combat it.

Why do colleges permit this? Most all foreign students pay full sticker price. Could that have something to do with the trend?

Certainly there is a place for multicultural experiences with wealthy foreign students. But is that the role of colleges today, to sell spots to the highest bidder? If so, why not do that? Why not take 5% of the freshman class and open it up to the highest international bidder. Don’t worry about credentials! Take the extra money and give it to U.S. students for scholarships.  Then this arrangement might make sense, and you’d get rid of the need for “agents” altogether.