Skip navigation

Procedure: International student education agent management

Purpose

To detail the procedures governing the appointment, management and termination of the relationships between International Education Agents (Education Agents) and the Australian National University (ANU).

This procedure is compliant with requirements under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework, the Higher Education Standards Framework together with the Australian International Education and Training Agent Code of Ethics (ACE).

These regulatory guidelines can be accessed here:

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018

Higher Education Standards Framework 2021

Australian International Education and Training - Agent Code of Ethics

Definitions

Education Agent: A person or organisation who is contracted by ANU to recruit overseas students and refer them to ANU. The Education Agent may provide education counselling to overseas students as well as marketing and promotion services to ANU. Education Agents may be operating in Australia or overseas.

ESOS legislative framework: Establishes legislative requirements and standards for the quality assurance of education and training institutions offering courses to international students who are in Australia on a student visa. ESOS also provides tuition fee protection for international students.

National Code of Practice (National Code): The National Code is a legislative instrument made under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 and sets nationally consistent standards to support providers to deliver quality education and training to overseas students.

HES Framework (Higher Education Standards Framework): is the definitive set of requirements for Australian higher education providers.

Procedure

Appointment of an Education Agent

  1. Prospective Education Agents apply to become an ANU Education Agent by completing an Education Agent Expression of Interest form and submitting the completed form to agent.contract@anu.edu.au.
  2. Education Agent Expression of Interests are considered twice a year in the first and third quarters each year, and in accordance with recruitment needs.
  3. The relevant Regional Manager, within the International Strategy and Future Students Division (ISFS) reviews the prospective Education Agent’s Expression of Interest, then provides a recommendation to the Manager, International Development or nominee for consideration as to whether the Education Agent’s Expression of Interest is endorsed or not endorsed. The Expression of Interest form is reviewed in terms of the following:

a.

market alignment – the market objectives and needs that the Education Agent service

b.

Education Agent alignment – the business objectives and needs that the Education Agent service

c.

demonstrated understanding of Australian legislation with regards to student recruitment, the Australian international education industry, and the University

d.

evidence of the Education Agent’s experience in the recruitment of genuine quality international students, including:

  • recruitment for other Australian universities or recruitment for other similar international universities
  • staff completion of the Education Agent Training Course (EATC) as delivered by the organisation, professional International Education Resources (PIER)
  • membership of agent associations or affiliations with other relevant organisations
  • inclusion on any applicable lists of approved Education Agents in the relevant foreign country, such as the Ministry of Education for Chinese Education Agents
  • appropriately experienced and knowledgeable staff
  • appropriate facilities for student counselling purposes
  • visa rejection rates
  • ethical dealings with other education providers and students
  • no evidence of having previously engaged in dishonest practices, including the deliberate attempt to recruit a student that clearly conflicts with the obligations of registered providers under the National Code
  • no evidence of negligent, careless or incompetent practices or participation in false, misleading or unethical advertising and recruitment practices, including practices that could harm the reputation of the University or the Australian international education industry
  • no evidence of misusing the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS) to create Confirmations of Enrolment (CoEs) other than for a genuine student.

  1. Upon endorsement of an Education Agent’s Expression of Interest by the Manager, International Development or nominee, the International Development team drafts an Agent Agreement. Initial Agent Agreements are for a one-year or three-year term depending on the strategic needs of the Division after which ISFS conducts a further comprehensive performance review of the Education Agent to determine their eligibility for a further term.
  2. The draft Agent Agreement is submitted to the Director, Future Students for endorsement.
  3. Upon endorsement from the Director, Future Students, dependent on the relevant delegated authority in accordance with the ANU Delegations of authority policy, the Agent Agreement is submitted to the Director, Future Students, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy) (DVC-IS) and/or the Vice-Chancellor and President, for approval and signing; and also to the Education Agent for signing by their relevant authority.
  4. Education Agents who have not been endorsed for appointment are informed in writing by the Manager, International Development or nominee within 20 working days of the decision being made.
  5. After an Agent Agreement is signed by both parties, the International Development team ensures that the Education Agent details are added to the ANU website and PRISMS, and advises the International Admissions team.
  6. The International Development team ensures that an annual audit is undertaken of the Education Agent details on PRISMS and the ANU website, and that any information is updated accordingly.

Induction and training of an Education Agent

  1. ANU Education Agents and their counsellors must understand and comply with the ESOS legislative framework and the Agent Code of Ethics. ISFS conducts training for its Education Agents as part of an induction process, and on an ongoing basis, this may take the form of:
  1. in-country training sessions
  2. agreed site visits
  3. regular communication
  4. familiarisation visits to ANU
  5. regular online training sessions
  6. the distribution of training and information materials.

  1. ISFS leads, manages, and facilitates ongoing joint marketing and promotional activities with Education Agents. This is undertaken through a range of activities that may include:
  1. participation at Education Agent-organised educational exhibitions
  2. participation in Education Agent-organised ANU-specific student interview sessions
  3. participation in Education Agent-organised ANU-specific institutional visits
  4. Education Agent participation in ANU-specific organised events
  5. joint ANU specific lead-generation activities in market.

Ongoing risk mitigation

  1. Education Agents must take all reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest with their duties as an Education Agent. If, during the term of the Agent Agreement, a conflict, or risk of conflict of interest arises, the Education Agent notifies the University immediately in writing of that conflict or risk and takes such steps as the University may reasonably require to resolve or deal with the conflict as required. If the Education Agent is unable or unwilling to resolve or deal with the conflict as required, the University may terminate the Agreement in accordance with the Agent Agreement.
  2. At any stage, if an issue of non-compliance by an Education Agent is identified, ISFS takes appropriate corrective action in alignment with the Agent Agreement. The Director, Future Students or nominee provides a preliminary warning letter to the Education Agent outlining the issue and prescribing the required action necessary and timeframe to rectify the issue.
  3. ISFS regularly review and access the accuracy and currency of promotional materials available to Education Agents for use in providing information to Students.

Student complaints

  1. Student complaints are taken seriously by the University and responded to in a timely and appropriate manner as per the Student Complaint Resolution Policy.
  2. Education Agents notify ISFS about any Student complaints about the University, and/or any Student complaints about the services of the Education Agent. Those complaints are investigated by ISFS, and appropriate action is taken depending on the nature of the complaint. Complaints that are frivolous, vexatious or lacking in substance are not investigated further.
  3. ISFS facilitates the investigative process within ten working days of receiving the complaint.
  4. All substantiated Student complaints against an Education Agent or a third party in delivering recruitment services are referred to the Registrar, Student Administration and the Director, Future Students or nominee.

Review of Education Agents

  1. ISFS monitors and reviews the conduct and performance of the Services by the Education Agent (and any subcontractors of the Education Agent) as reasonably required to satisfy Standard 4.2 of the National Code, including to ensure the Education Agent is giving students accurate and up-to-date information about the University’s services. ISFS manages and coordinates the monitoring/review at least once a year.

What is monitored

  1. In monitoring Education Agent conduct and performance, the University considers, but is not limited to, the following criteria:

a.

Education Agent Conduct:

  • compliance with Australian legislative requirements such as the ESOS Legislative Framework and the National Code, the Higher Education Standards Framework, Agent Code of Ethics, University admissions requirements and processes, policy frameworks, and any other relevant peak body policies or guidelines, and breaches of the Education Agent Agreement
  • any evidence of Education Agent malpractice
  • the number of declined or cancelled visas for students from the Education Agent.

b.

Student Experience:

  • demonstrated consistency of knowledge and understanding of University Programs provided to the student to meet realistic student expectations
  • feedback from students with regards to accuracy of advice given on chosen program of study
  • feedback from students with regards to Education Agent interaction.

c.

Education Agent Performance:

  • conversion rates such as Applications to Offers; and Offers to Enrolments (this may be in comparison to the Education Agent’s prior conversion rates; those from other recruitment Education Agents, and may be based on market trends for the region)
  • recruitment practices and volumes
  • identifying trends in student cohorts, who are from a particular Education Agent and/or region with regards to academic progress, performance and completions
  • any feedback from the ANU Colleges, international admissions, student complaints and feedback from any relevant ANU committee.

d.

Education Agent engagement with the University:

  • engagement with the University, including participation in training; webinars; Education Agent familiarisations, activities, events and response to communications such as emails and newsletters.

How the Education Agent is monitored

  1. The monitoring process includes, but is not limited to the following:

a.

Education Agent Conduct:

  • visits to the Education Agent’s offices including to examine office suitability, Education Agent’s documents, records and systems
  • review of data from the Department of Home Affairs regarding Student Visa approval rate
  • assessing information within the University systems and records pertaining to Students recruited through the Education Agent.

b.

Student Experience:

  • conducting surveys or interviews with students, or the parents of Applicants who are under 18 years old
  • reviewing the results of University student surveys and evaluations as conducted on a regular basis and consistent with The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Threshold Standards.
  • a detailed review of accuracy and currency of promotional materials used in providing information to Students.

c.

Education Agent Performance:

  • review of the University brand presence within the Education Agent’s office, website and the activities and operations of the Education Agent
  • conducting interviews with the Education Agent, its employees and any subcontractors to assess counsellor destination and product knowledge
  • review of Education Agent reports, visits to education fairs and conferences and evaluation of Education Agent activity and preparedness.

d.

Education Agent engagement with the University:

  • review of number and frequency of participation in any University’s initiatives, such as Education Agent training and promotional campaigns.

Review Outcomes

  1. For each Education Agent reviewed, The Manager, International Development or nominee provides the review outcomes and recommended plan of action to the Director, Future Students or nominee.
  2. The Director, Future Students or nominee considers and approves the review outcomes and plan of action for each Education Agent.
  3. If a review identifies that the Education Agent’s performance is not satisfactory, the relevant Regional Managers meet with the Education Agent to discuss performance and work with the Education Agent, and if warranted, issue a preliminary warning letter setting out the agreed expectations, corrective action, and timeframe to address performance.
  4. Education Agents that have been provided with a preliminary warning and who subsequently fail to address or rectify concerns raised in the warning letter, during the timeframe provided, are subject to one of the following corrective actions:
  1. undertake and complete professional development/training specified by ANU
  2. restriction of recruitment activities undertaken by the Education Agent for ANU
  3. temporary suspension of the Education Agent’s representation of ANU
  4. requirement of the Education Agent to terminate their agreement with a subagent or
  5. upon issue of a second warning letter, with no subsequent corrective action undertaken, termination of the Agent Agreement may occur.

Termination of Agent Agreements

  1. Where the University becomes aware, or has reason to believe, the Education Agent or an employee or subcontractor of the Education Agent has breached the Agent Agreement or is engaging in false or misleading recruitment practices, including breaching the ESOS Act, as per the Agent Agreement the University takes immediate action. It conducts an investigation and may immediately terminate or suspend the Agent Agreement or require the Education Agent to terminate its relationship with the employee or subcontractor who engaged in those practices.
  2. In terminating an Agent Agreement the following occurs:
  1. the Director, Future Students or nominee submits a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy) or nominee. At the same time it is also confirmed as to whether there are other partnerships with this entity (such as an articulation agreement) that may need to be considered in the light of the termination of the Agent Agreement that impact the other partnership, and the way the decision to terminate the Agent Agreement is communicated to the Education Agent.
  2. the termination is endorsed in writing by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy) and/or the Vice-Chancellor or nominee depending on the relevant delegated authority, as per the ANU Delegations of authority policy.
  3. the Director, Future Students or nominee, notifies the Education Agent of the termination of relationship with ANU, which includes the grounds for termination.
  4. all documents associated with the termination are kept on file by ISFS, and are uploaded to the Electronic Records Management System in accordance with the ANU Records and archives management policy.
  5. The International Development team removes the Education Agent details from the ANU website and PRISMS and advises the International Admissions Team.

Reporting

Termination and corrective action reporting

  1. For termination as a result of serious breach of the Education Agent Agreement or a breach related to academic integrity, breach of ESOS legislative framework, National Code or breach of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) the following occurs:
  1. the International Development team advises the Academic Standards and Quality Office (ASQO) with regards to any prescribed corrective action that will be undertaken;
  2. the Director, Future Students reports any terminations of Agent Agreements due to a serious breach of legislation, or breach of the Agent Agreement for noting at the next Senior Management Group (SMG) meeting. After being tabled at SMG, if the issue relates to academic quality, this report is provided to AQAC and then to Academic Board (AB) for noting; and
  3. all non-compliance issues, including any corrective action undertaken, are reported to SMG for noting. If the issue relates to academic quality, it is submitted to Academic Quality Assurance Committee (AQAC) and AB for noting.

Periodic reporting

  1. ANU’s Planning and Service Performance Division will produce a report for ISFS on data which may be relevant in assessing Education Agent Conduct, Student Experience, Education Agent Performance, and Education Agent engagement with the University. The Director, Future Students is responsible for taking action consistent with this policy in respect of data provided.
  2. An overview of Education Agent performance, with de-identified agent and student information is reported once a year to the SMG. After the report is tabled at SMG, it is sent to AQAC and AB for noting.

Information

Printable version (PDF)
Title International student education agent management
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_014208
Version 12
Purpose This document provides support to the Education agent management and engagement policy and outlines University and individual responsibilities, providing further detail on how to implement and comply with the policy.
Audience Prospective Students, Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Students
 
Effective Date 24 Aug 2021
Next Review Date 24 Aug 2026
 
Responsible Officer: Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy)
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area International Strategy and Future Students Division
Authority: Australian National University Act 1991
National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
Delegations 315