Adequate monitoring

September 13, 2002

Further to your article "Student agents aid illegal entry" ( THES , September 6), it would be wise to point out that international offices within British universities do generally have a very effective system of self-regulation. They are meticulous in making agreements with agents and monitoring their activities, and they have regular communication with British consular officials and British Council offices abroad.

There is also a regular exchange of information between international officers in UK universities through the British Universities International Liaison Association electronic mailbase. It would be highly unusual for a university to continue cooperating with an agent where a number of offer letters were issued to international students without them arriving for enrolment.

This valuable sector is being effectively marketed and managed, but we also have to be aware that bona fide international applicants require a swift response from universities because of the high level of competition from countries such as Australia and the US.

John Phillips
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

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