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Diversifying Student Recruitment

Collaborative Research Centre

Article 11

Over recent times the UK education sector has witnessed sweeping changes in academic and regulatory compliance. Since the introduction of the Points Based System which has evolved to become a stringent set of measures where failure to comply can result in the loss of an institution’s Tier 4 licence and the inability to take or retain international students many institutions find themselves in the mix of a paradigm shift. Constant changes to regulations are leading to new landscapes and with external market pressure from Canada, Australia and the US compounded further by new entrants such as Malaysia, Middle East and Europe; British institutions need to adopt a new and competitive set of operations to keep its competitive stance in the global race of international students whilst also managing the concerns of the Home Office.

Our Collaborative Research Centre studied the need to align international student recruitment and compliance to create a more potent operational infrastructure, one which led to a significant reduction in risk. Our CRC studied the revocation of 26 licences over the past 24 months and concluded that an underlying source of the problem remained in the disjointed working relationship been international student recruitment and compliance. 17 of these revocations may have been avoided if the alignment between international student recruitment and compliance remained open and synchronised. Student recruitment focused heavily on attracting, processing and enrolling students into the campus whilst compliance would (amongst other services) monitor the student from enrollment, attendance and course completion.

In theory, the above sounds perfect but in practice, CRC discovered that there was a substantial disjoint. International sales and development team members were seldom keen to analyse the underlying factors which were leading to a successful course completion. What happened after a student enrolled or once a CAS was issued was not their concern. Academic delivery staff frequently complained of the quality of students being recruited to Compliance Managers who were monitoring or analysing the attendance of students. Students being recruited on a low IELTS level were being set up for failure and driving down the success of the institution but also destroying the morale of fellow students. International Sales Managers were simply provided with a framework for recruiting and were rewarded if certain acquisition targets were met with little regard to the performance in the classroom.

The irony of the situation relating to the on-going dispute between international student recruitment and compliance (with a proxy stakeholder named academic delivery) was simply brushed to one side as healthy disagreements but CRC has concluded that the relationship between international sales and compliance is vital if British institutions are to continue as Highly Trusted Sponsors and attract the best and brightest students.

INTCAS CRC discovered that the following 8 core points were vital to align International Sales and Compliance and would make significant progress in minimising risk associated with international student recruitment:

  1. Develop an integrated Sales & Compliance Programme where Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for International Sales Managers factors in Compliance operations. This would (perhaps) include weighting to the performance of students within the academic environment and rewarding Sales Managers accordingly.
  2. Provide Compliance functions a strong voice in the Integrated Sales strategy by absorbing them into upstream operations. This could involve (contingent upon budget) allowing Compliance Managers to shadow International Sales Managers on overseas trips or admission staff during admission assessments.
  3. International Sales Managers should shadow Compliance Mangers and academic staff in the classroom or lecture theatre to understand compliance and academic performance in more detail.
  4. Develop relationships with high-performing agents who could be integrated into the development of the Integrated Sales strategies.
  5. Develop a robust Operating model which fosters alignment between upstream sales operations right through to course completion.
  6. Share intelligence with Agents of academic operations and performance and align future commission structures to course completion.
  7. Develop an Executive Dashboard where senior management can visualise performance horizontally from admission to enrollment and graduation.

By developing a high performing relationship between International Student Recruitment and Compliance British institutions would be well positioned to address underlying concerns addressed by students, agents and the Home Office.

INTCAS is a global institution which assists British Institutions to safely recruit international students from across the world. Our Ecosystem ONE platform provides British education institutions with a single integrated platform to manage relationships with over 9100 vetted agents across 67 countries. Our platform develops the intelligence to drive key strategic decisions and ensures compliance is addressed across the entire student lifecycle.

Why not call our Operations Centre or email us on or log onto if you would like to learn more about how INTCAS and how it can ensure your sales and compliance functions can be more closely aligned. This will deliver you long term and sustained performance when recruiting international students.