Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Use of Agents to Recruit International Students Policy - EXPIRED

Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by Council, 12 December 2006
Date Policy Took Effect 1 February 2007
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)
Responsible Officer Manager, International Marketing and Liaison
Review Date 1 June 2012


The intention of this policy is to allow the University to diversify its markets and recruitment methods while at the same time:

  • maintaining the University’s high-end market position;
  • minimising risk to the University's 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 the ability to focus on a manageable number of agents and provide them with quality support.

Organisational Scope

This Policy applies University-wide.


This Policy applies to all Agents who recruit, or seek to recruit, international students to study at the University of Otago.

Policy Content

1. Introduction

The University of Otago first adopted a policy on the use of agents in February 1997. This policy is continually revised in the light of changes in focus in the University’s marketing efforts, and changing practices in regard to the use of education agents.

2. General Principles

(a) The University's use of agents will be selective in terms of:

  • location or market
  • number and quality of agents used.

(b) A vetting process will be applied, clear standards set, and regular review undertaken.

3. Agent Selection

(a) The following criteria will be used in selecting agents in a particular market.

(i) The agent is established - i.e. has a history of successful operation.

(ii) Credentials and experience of the agency staff are relevant to educational and career counselling and evaluation of qualifications.

(iii) 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 Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

(iv) Satisfactory references are obtained directly from reputable providers who have used the agent.

(v) Charging regime is explicit, satisfactory in terms of level of fee charged and there is no evidence of “double dipping.”

(vi) Agency staff are fluent communicators in English as well as the home country language.

(vii) The agent has the technology to allow satisfactory communication with Otago.

(viii) The agent has knowledge of New Zealand and its education system, and/or is actively interested in developing this.

(ix) In the case of the People’s Republic of China the agent must submit documented evidence of accreditation by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

4. Appointment and Review

(a) Once 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.

(b) The following shall be considered in a review of agent performance -

(i) Percentage of enquiries and applications forwarded for students who meet the necessary language and academic requirements.

(ii) Levels of student satisfaction with the information and services provided by the agent.

(iii) Level of contact maintained between the Agent and relevant contact people in the International Office of the University.

(iv) Adequacy and accuracy of the documentation and information provided in support of student applications.

(v) Timeliness of documentation and information provided.

(vi) Other agreed protocols and quality standards, including relevant elements of the Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice, have been followed and met.

(c) 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.

5. Support for Agents

(a) Commentators stress the importance of providing good information and support to agents if a quality service is to be expected. Each agent will be serviced by the Manager, International Marketing and Liaison or the Coordinator, International Marketing for the University.

(b) Support will take the following form -

(i) Briefings for new agents to educate them about the University, the courses offered, methods and systems. Ideally this will be done face-to-face, but may in some instances have to be provided by distance methods.

(ii) Agent's kit: a support kit including relevant publications, course and fees information, living costs and immigration information, contact names and numbers.

(iii) Regular feedback from the agent’s contact people, with reference to new courses, course outcomes and other relevant information and news.

(iv) Where possible and appropriate, visits by proven agents to the University to see facilities, and meet staff.

6. Payment for Recruitment: general terms and conditions

(a) The exact level of payment will be negotiated with each agent, within parameters agreed to by the Vice-Chancellor, but will not normally exceed 10% of the first year/period of tuition fees for University study.

(b) Payment of commission for students enrolled in the University of Otago Foundation Year and/or the University of Otago Language Centre will be governed by practices and policies set by the University of Otago Foundation Studies Ltd.

(c) 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.

(d) The University will make payment to the agent only when the closing date for student withdrawal without financial penalty has passed.

(e) In normal circumstances commission will be paid only to agents with whom the University has a formal agreement for representation.

(f) The University will not pay commission for any student for whom a commission has already been paid by University of Otago Foundation Studies Ltd for Foundation Year study.

(g) The University will not work on a payment for recruitment basis with any New Zealand educational institution.

(h) In the case of the People’s Republic of China, the University will sign agreements for formal representation only with agencies who have formal accreditation from the Chinese Ministry of Education.

(i) The University will not pay commission for any student previously studying in an academic programme at a New Zealand institution (high school or college, institute or polytechnic, university), and whose academic entry is based on completion of an academic qualification offered in New Zealand. The exception to this policy is students recruited from English language schools - the University will pay a commission as long as the student is given a conditional offer of place by the University prior to commencing any language study in New Zealand.

(j) Detailed terms and conditions will be negotiated as part of an agreement with each agent.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms