It’s illegal for colleges to pay recruiters to bring in students — unless the recruiters are operating overseas. Small colleges are eager to sign up foreign students who pay the full cost of tuition and they’re paying recruiters for prospects, reports the New York Times.
Green River Community College, 45 minutes south of Seattle, has no special overseas cachet, no global name recognition — but it has enrolled 1,400 international students this year, most of them recruited by overseas agents who get 15 percent of the $9,732 first-year tuition.
It would be impossible for us to attract students by advertising or going to recruitment fairs, since the whole community college concept of coming for two years and then transferring to a four-year university is unknown in most countries,” said Ross Jennings, vice president for international programs at the college in Auburn, Wash. “We need agents who know us and understand what we do.”
Paying U.S. recruiters was outlawed 20 years ago to maintain academic standards. The use of overseas recruiters is controversial. Colleges and universities have opposed a proposed ban by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, says U.S. colleges need to pay commissions to compete for high-paying students with British and Australian universities.