United Kingdom: The millions of international student recruiters

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In the UK, university fees for Britons are capped. This is not the case for foreign students, who have become an essential resource for establishments. Their number increased from 469,000 to 689,000 between 2018 and 2022, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The Times, which has devoted several articles to this development, published a long investigation into the underside of the recruitment of international students by specialized agencies.

Study Group is one of them. The daily was able to interview “Peter”, a former manager and whistleblower, and consulted meeting minutes and various internal documents. Study Group has concluded very juicy contracts, going up to a total of 420 million pounds, or more than 490 million euros, with prestigious British universities to provide them with foreign students who pay a high price. “Study Group now has 3,000 recruitment agents, offers pathway courses in partnership with 50 universities around the world and has offices in the United States, China, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and India ”, reports The Times. The company targets particular profiles: the young “party animal” at mid-level, the aspiring emigrant wishing to leave their country and “students from the Middle East financed by rich regimes”.

Students who do not have the level

Study Group, which began by giving language lessons to young foreigners, now derives most of its revenue from two sources: a 15% commission on first-year tuition fees for all new recruits and its induction programs. upgraded for direct access to partner universities. With these programs, students who do not have the required level are able to bypass the normal admission system and obtain a place. According to the Times, teachers who then find themselves with these students in their classes complain about their level.

The company was bought by an investment fund based in Paris. “We are making Parisian bankers happy. The money is not staying in higher education or the British economy,” says “Peter”, as the British Department of Education has opened an investigation.

This article is originally published on courrierinternational.com

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