Intelligent agency

March 5, 2015

I write in response to the article about the use of agents by UK universities (“Agents paid an average of £1,767 per non-EU recruit”, News, 19 February). Because of an error, the figures released by Coventry University included substantial non-agent related costs and therefore do not accurately reflect our spending on agents. In fact, the university receives substantial, and increasing, numbers of direct applicants and is creating overseas hubs to support recruitment alongside research, partnering and alumni activities. As a result, our spending on agents is well below the total quoted (and much less than the average figure quoted for the sector), even though we are one of the largest recruiters of overseas students.

Good agents play a vital role in advising students on where they can achieve the learning outcomes that they are looking for, and a properly managed agent portfolio allows institutions to attract gifted individuals. Coventry’s use of agents is part of a considered approach to recruitment within a well-articulated internationalisation agenda.

A greater source of concern should be the fact that the increasing use of agents by North American universities and changes in visa regulations in a number of countries have caused the previous growth in overseas enrolments in the UK to flatten. Recruitment from countries such as India, which has traditionally had strong links with the UK, has been particularly affected, although there are some signs of recovery.

In an international world, we seek opportunities to promulgate the values and vision of UK higher education, not only in the UK but also to an increasing extent by working overseas and in collaboration with global partners.

John Latham
Vice-chancellor, Coventry University

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard