Unis spend £120m a year on recruitment agents for international students

Agencies get rich as unis rush to cash in on students from outside the EU.


In unsurprising news of the day, universities are splurging millions of pounds every year on recruiting international students, new research suggests.

Foreign students are a huge source of income for unis due to the significantly higher fees they pay under current regulations.

And unis are spending millions on recruitment agencies for international students, who help students pick courses, fill out application forms and prepare for interviews.

The recruitment agents earn up to £1,000 per international applicant.

Just so we’re clear, £3.2billion is a lot more coins than this

Last year, students from outside the EU paid £3.2billion in tuition fees.

Research by Uni-Pay and Centurus estimates that 38% of these were recruited by agents, leading to a total spend of around £120 million on commission.

Not only is this a huge drain on funds, but the inability to fill out a form suggests these students might not quite be cut out for higher education.

According to the Daily Telegraph, some agencies are also claiming they can secure university places for foreign students despite poor grades.

Universities are also being accused of processing international applications much quicker, within a number of days as opposed to months for home students.

Simon Read, Uni-Pay managing director, said: “It is absolutely right for UK universities to aim to recruit more overseas students. Their presence on campus brings many educational as well as financial benefits.

“However, it makes little sense for our universities to be spending millions of pounds more than they need to due to inefficient systems, particularly at a time when they are facing significant cuts in Government funding.

“I am sure they would rather be spending this money on making the experience of international and home students even better.”