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Recruiting International Students: Controversy Uncovered

July 29, 2011

To recruit or not to recruit? That is the question.

There is an ongoing debate regarding the ethics of hiring commission-based agents to recruit international students to colleges and universities here in the States. These institutions of higher education rely on such tactics in order to produce income (tuition for international students is often significantly higher than tuition for in-state students) that supports various initiatives such as research grants and study abroad programs.

There is nothing scandalous about recruiting international students. It’s the tactics employed by commission-based agents that stirs controversy. As stated by Rahul Choudaha, the director of development and innovation at World Education Services in this article posted on Inside Higher Ed, “the incentive system is designed to facilitate admissions of international students to be easy and fast, not necessarily reliable and relevant. This ‘fast and easy’ process may also involve document frauds, because if the student does not get admitted there is no commission.”

Sound familiar? I recently began a series of installments on this blog entitled, “Credential Evaluations Gone Wrong,” in which I document true stories of how various international students suffer from misevaluated documents. Now, not every case is fraudulent. In fact, most are not. Many are simply a product of an industry in which there are no universal standards that all evaluators must abide by.

Ironically, one of my stories was based on an evaluation approved by the above-mentioned World Education Services, which made a recommendation that most evaluation experts disagree with. In that case, Mr. Choudaha’s employer, being more generous in evaluating certain 3-year post-secondary programs than most others, provided an evaluation that was not accepted by U.S. Immigration Services.

Then there are the inaccurate credentials evaluations that are flat out fraudulent. And when it comes to the subject of hiring agents to recruit international students, the odds of a document being misevaluated or questionably verified increases dramatically. Which is why it is even more important for admissions representatives to put extra emphasis on working with trustworthy evaluators who hold themselves to a common standard.

The question in turn is, ‘what do you look for in a trustworthy evaluator?’

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