In the UK, higher education providers often work with third parties called international agents to recruit international students.

In this system, an international student may request advice from an international agent. If they place that student with their client university, they gain a commission.

My problem is that I do not know whether my university is offering a decent enough incentive to international agents for them to promote us over their other clients.

What I've tried so far

To find out how much commission agents receive, I've tried:

  • Launching a survey on a LinkedIn group for higher education international recruitment specialists. This has had no responses
  • Googling the question, but I haven't found any suitable results
  • Searching on job boards, but the positions are often not advertised, as many international agent companies are small family-owned businesses

My question

This is a bit of a left-field question, but how can I find the commission rates for international agents when they recruit for rival universities?

  • 4
    "Commission payments may vary by institution, by agent and by market, but, based on figures from 101 institutions that provided information on both recruitment and spending, the average agent fee paid per student in 2013-14 was £1,767 ($2,725)." (Inside Higher Ed.) Or you could put in your own Freedom of Information Act requests, as Times Higher Education did.
    – ff524
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 7:49
  • To clarify, you are asking from a university administration vantage and want to make sure your university is paying enough money to capture the maximum number of international students.
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:56
  • @StrongBad: yes, exactly. multiple universities will use the same international agent. If university A offers 15% commission vs. 10% from university B, then the agents are more likely to represent A over B.
    – user47796
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


Make a Freedom of Information Act request. Anyone can do this. If you are concerned about possible charges, state that you would like to be given an estimate of any charges that would be incurred prior to them doing the work (photocopying, etc.).

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