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Information for agents

Rationale

The intention of the policy is to allow the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year to diversify its markets and recruitment methods while at the same time:

  • Maintaining a high-end market position.
  • Minimising risk to the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year reputation and investment in the market.
  • Ensuring a flow of quality applications rather than a large quantity of mediocre or inappropriate applications.
  • Giving the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year the ability to focus on a manageable number of agents and provide them with quality support.

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General principles

The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year use of agents will be selective in terms of:

  • the desire to diversify markets
  • the cost and viability of entering into the market
  • number and quality of agents used

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Agent selection

Selecting agents in a particular market - criteria:

  • The agent is established - i.e. has a history of successful operation.
  • Credentials and experience of the agency staff are relevant to educational and career counseling and evaluation of qualifications. The main purpose of the agency is to recruit suitably qualified students for the purpose of gaining an international education.
  • Protocols for dealing with students/clients and providers are available for scrutiny, and are in harmony with standards set out in the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary. This can be found at: http://www.minedu.govt.nz
  • Satisfactory references are obtained directly from reputable institutions and/or companies who have used the agent.
  • Charging regime is explicit, satisfactory in terms of level of fee charged and there is no evidence of 'double dipping'.
  • Agency staff are fluent communicators in English as well as the home country language.
  • The agent has the technology to allow satisfactory communication with the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year.
  • The agent has knowledge of New Zealand and its education system and culture, and/or is actively interested in developing this.
  • In the case of the People's Republic of China or other countries that require accreditation the agent must submit documented evidence of accreditation by their Ministry of Education.

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Appointment and review

The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year exist to provide the best outcomes (academically and pastorally) for students.

There is an expectation that agents hold similar values. It is envisaged that decisions made by staff of the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year, in the best interests of students, will be acceptable to agents.

Agents should formally apply to become registered agents for the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year.

When a decision has been reached to appoint an agent an initial agreement will be entered into - normally for a two year period.

The agreement will stipulate the conditions of the relationship and will provide for a review after a set period of time - normally immediately prior to the expiry date for the agreement.

The following shall be considered in a review of agent performance:

  • Enquiries and applications forwarded for students to Admissions will meet the necessary language and academic requirements.
  • Students are satisfied with the information and services provided by the agent. This is checked during student enrolment periods.
  • Regular level of contact maintained between the Agent and staff at the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year.
  • The documentation and information provided in support of student applications is accurate and timely.
  • Other agreed protocols and quality standards, including relevant elements of the Ministry of Education's Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary, have been followed and met.
  • Where possible, the review will be discussed with the agent and a decision to continue with or withdraw from the agreement will be made at this time.
  • An agent contract will be terminated immediately if agents breach the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 - Tertiary for the Pastoral Care of International Students or conduct business that, in the view of the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year, is unethical.

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Support for agents


The Marketing Manager or Chief Executive Officer will support each agent. Support will take the following forms:

  • Briefings for new agents to educate them about the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year, courses offered and methods and systems of operation. Ideally this will be done face-to-face, but may in some instances have to be provided by distance methods.
  • Agent Resources: including relevant publications, course and fees information, living costs, contact names and numbers.
  • Regular feedback from the agent's contact people and counselors, with reference to new courses, course outcomes and other relevant information and news.
  • Where possible and appropriate, visits by selected agents to the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year to see facilities and meet staff.

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Payment for recruitment: general terms and conditions

  • The exact level of payment will be negotiated with each agent, within parameters agreed to by the Chief Executive or Marketing Manager but will not normally exceed 20% for the initial period of study for English language and 15% for Foundation Year study. Commission on extensions is not normally provided.
  • The agent will not make any fees-based charge to the student, and will charge the student only for services not directly related to their enrolment with the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year.
  • The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year will make payment to the agent only when the closing date for student withdrawal without financial penalty has passed unless other arrangements are specified in individual contracts.
  • Under normal circumstances commission will be paid only to agents with whom the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year has a formal agreement for representation. There will be no formal or informal agreements with an agent's sub-agent. The management of this relationship is the responsibility of the agent.
  • Agents must provide University of Otago Language Centre with an invoice for commission two months after the student has enrolled at the Language Centre. Invoices that are one year overdue will not be paid.
  • Agents must provide the University of Otago Foundation Year with an invoice for commission two months after the student has enrolled at Foundation Year. Invoices that are one year overdue will not be paid.
  • Agents who recruit students for the University of Otago Language Centre where the student intends to continue to study at the University of Otago Foundation Year and subsequently the University of Otago will be paid commission for the Language Centre, Foundation Year and first year of tuition at the University of Otago.
  • The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year will not work on a payment for recruitment basis with any New Zealand educational institution.
  • In the case of the People's Republic of China or other countries that require accreditation, the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year will sign agreements for formal representation only with agencies who have formal accreditation from the respective Ministry of Education.
  • The University of Otago Foundation Year will pay commission for any student recruited from English language schools within New Zealand. The University of Otago Foundation Year will pay a commission as long as the University of Otago Foundation Year gives the student a conditional offer of place. The Agent must demonstrate evidence that they have been responsible for the initial placement of the student in New Zealand.
  • Detailed terms and conditions will be negotiated as part of an agreement with each agent.
  • Commission for New Zealand and Australian based agents will be inclusive of GST.
  • In the case of agents recruiting New Zealand permanent residents in their country of birth or New Zealand citizens who are living overseas, no commission will be paid.
  • If a student should becomes a permanent resident or New Zealand Citizen while studying at the University of Otago Language Centre or Foundation Year, the commission paid will be based on the fee structure paid on enrolment.

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Target regions

Priorities for future appointments are South America (particularly Brazil, Chile and Colombia), Europe (particularly Southern and Eastern Europe), South East Asia (particularly Vietnam and Thailand), and North Asia (particularly China, Japan and Korea).

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Contact for agents

Roger McElwain
Chief Executive Officer
University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year
University Plaza, 130 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin 9016
PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Tel 64 3 479 5250
Email roger.mcelwain@otago.ac.nz

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