Do agents make 40% on every student?!

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Starling
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Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling » 25 May 2019, 16:42

Hello all,

I have a nagging curiosity.

I work for a big school in London that currently gets most of its students from Agents operating out of a number of different countries around the world. I recently discovered that these agencies charge up to 40% commission for each student. Can anyone confirm that this is accurate?

Do London schools have agreements with language schools abroad whereby the latter send students who enquire about courses abroad to the London school with which they have an agreement? This seems a win for all involved and a far better solution than using agents who seem to exist solely as a middleman between student and school?
If these relationships do exist, how much are the schools making from each student?

Just a thought!

Thanks

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Firefox
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Firefox » 25 May 2019, 16:52

I used to work in this area but I forget the exact figures. However, I can confirm that both your scenarios exist:

- Agents find and send students to schools in UK (and elsewhere). 40% sounds like what I remember. Certainly doesn't surprise me.

- Language schools do the same, for similar commissions.

As to how much the schools (by which I presume you mean the London schools, in your case) make, you can do the maths. They advertise their rates somewhere, maybe on their website, Facebook, whatever. Deduct 40% or whatever.

But don't forget they are businesses in it to make a profit. They have to pay overheads, whether they have students or not. They have to pay teachers. It's a business. Go figure. :roll:

Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling » 27 May 2019, 10:35

Thanks for the reply Firefox

40% seems very high to me even considering overheads but I suppose the agencies are completely in control. I imagine if a London school were to challenge them, the logical conclusion would be that they would direct all their enquiries to rival schools.

I think there might have been some confusion (I think because of my original wording) re student referrals between schools although you went on to answer my question anyway. Just to confirm, the commission charged by schools in other countries for recommending a particular school in London is more or less the same rate as the agencies charge (40%). Is that right?

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Joe
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Joe » 27 May 2019, 11:01

Starling wrote:
27 May 2019, 10:35
I think there might have been some confusion (I think because of my original wording) re student referrals between schools although you went on to answer my question anyway. Just to confirm, the commission charged by schools in other countries for recommending a particular school in London is more or less the same rate as the agencies charge (40%). Is that right?
Probably, yes, though the details vary between the parties and whatever they agree.

I'm not sure it's right to separate "agents" and "schools who send students to London schools". Those schools are effectively acting as agents and therefore take a similar cut. They could be seen as agents themselves.

(Of course, it's not only London. The business happens all over the world and in the teaching of various languages.)
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Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling » 27 May 2019, 13:30

Thanks Joe.

I was using London schools as an example but yes clearly these relationships aren't restricted to London alone.

I think you answered a key question I was searching for but didn't manage to put into words. My questions partly stem from my not knowing what an 'Agent' might actually look like. Are they usually an established language school taking a cut when referring students or are they more often stand alone businesses? It seems that agencies might be able to demand a larger commission as their sole purpose is to find students if this is the case.

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Firefox
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Firefox » 27 May 2019, 15:28

I agree Starling. Agents seem to be a mysterious bunch operating in stealth mode. I don't think I've ever knowingly met an agent, though I've worked for a school in France that sent students to UK and was thus effectively an agent myself—in my own very modest way. But really I think "agents" can be almost anyone, from schools, private teachers even, travel agents, retired school owners, whoever...

I found a few links that might interest you:

Agent's Page (IH Bangkok)
https://www.ihbangkok.com/studying-in-b ... ents-page/

How to become a foreign agent
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/jun/27/tefl1

Tips for finding ESL educational agents
https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2010 ... al-agents/

How to find a good ESL agent: Tips from the trenches
https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2010 ... -trenches/

Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling » 27 May 2019, 17:08

This is great, thanks Firefox. I'll investigate and if I find anything of particular interest I'll post it!

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