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Overseas agents

Disclosure date: 24 January 2012

Reference: FOI2011/105

Request

1) Please could you provide a list of all Overseas Agents that are used for student recruitment or university representation purposes. (Only agents that have been used in the 2010-11 academic year).

2) For each Overseas Agent, please list all payments and contracts with that company for the 2010-11 academic year. Please state the amount of money that was paid, and the service that was provided by the Agent. If there are any additional financial agreements with the company, please state these also (e.g. the company will get X% of the tuition fee for every student they recruit, etc).

3) Please state how much the university paid in total to Overseas Agents during the 2010-11 academic year.

4) If known, please state how many students were recruited by Overseas Agents for courses that started in Autumn 2011.

Response

1)

Aoji Enrolment Centre of International Education Ltd
Aspire Educational Consulting
Atlas International
Beijing HHL Overseas Education Service Co. Ltd
Beijing JJL Overseas Consulting & Service Co Ltd
Beijing New Oriental Vision Overseas ConsultCo.Ltd
beo
Bosss UK Ltd
British Side Education Counselling Service
Burgeon Education
Centre for Economic Training in Africa
Cheeway Education International
CNUK-China - UK Culture & Commerce Association Ltd
Commerce Linkage
D & S Education Consultancy Co
EDCON
EDM
Eduabroad Consulting
Education Resources Network
EduGlobal
Eduk
Edukation Ltd
Edushanghai International Co. Ltd
EDWISE International
EIC Group Ltd
GetSet Ltd
Global Education Services
Global Visions International Education
Golden Arrow Overseas Consulting
Gostudy Education Institute
HR Consultants
HRD Services
Huashen International Education Co. Ltd
IAE EduNet
Index Education Services
International Placewell Consultants PVT Ltd
i-One Education Centre
JA Study Abroad Center (JASA)
Knowledge HorizonLinx Enterprises Ltd
London School of English
Mentor ISC (Education & Training Consultants) Ltd
New Oriental Education and Technology Group
Orienchange Ltd
Oxbridge Consulting Inc.
Oxford Vision Consultancy Ltd
Penprapa Advisory Study Abroad Ltd
Peopleoving Education
Rain Watcher (UK)
Samid Foundation/Student Exchange
Savi (UK) Ltd
SchoolGuide
Shanghai Huashen
Shanghai SISU Educ .Inf.Centre for Int. Exchanges/SISU Study Abroad Centre
Sino-UK Culture Express
Student AZ Exchange
studentgenerator.com
Study in England
Study International (SI-UK Education Council)
Study Outside Norway AS
Thames Education Ltd
The Combine Company
Tri-V UK
UCAS
UK Arts Uhak
UK Edu Centre
UK Education Centre Ltd
UK International Education Alliance
UKEAS Ltd
UKEN (UK Education Network)
UKEO Korea Ltd
UKuhak.Com
Wiseway Global Co. Ltd


2) In general terms the services provided by the agents that we use are promotion of our programmes, selecting suitable applicants, counselling potential students, assisting with the application and fee payment process and with visa applications. Commission for recruiting students is always 10%.

I can confirm that SOAS holds information on payments to overseas agents. However, the School believes that disclosing this information would prejudice the commercial interests of the School. The information is therefore covered by the exemption at section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

A significant proportion of the School’s annual intake is made up of overseas students, who in turn provide a large proportion of the School’s income through fees. Overseas agents help the School to recruit some of these students – approximately 10% of degree applicants from overseas. If the School disclosed details of how much it paid to individual agents, this would be likely to prejudice the School’s ability to negotiate the best terms with individual agents.

The exemption at section 43(2) is subject to a public interest test. Arguments in favour of disclosure are:

There is a general public interest in improving the transparency and accountability of public bodies, ensuring that public money is well spent, and that the School is obtaining value for money in procurement of services.

Arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption are:

There is a public interest in the School being able to recruit as many students as possible from overseas, both for income purposes, and to maintain its attractiveness as a place to study. It is not in the public interest for agents to be put in a stronger position to negotiate with the School, as this could potentially result in more public money being spent.

The School takes the view that the information being disclosed showing how much is spent on Agents and how many students were recruited meets the general public interest in transparency. It is very important that the School’s ability to recruit students from abroad is not impaired, especially at a time of economic difficulty at home. In the School’s view the public interest in maintaining an affordable pool of agents, who in turn can supply the School with new students, outweighs the interest in disclosure of information on payments to agents.

3) £331,455.19 was paid in total to Overseas Agents during 2010-11. Not all of the agents listed under question 1 above recruited students or received payments during 2010-11.

4) Approximately 241 students were recruited by overseas agents for courses that started in Autumn 2011.