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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

In conflict: Recruitment and Regulation in America.

Two things to declare up front:
1. I first met Mitch Leventhal at NAFSA eight years ago and have pitched doing work for him to recruit international students. He is currently the Vice Chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York.
2. As readers of “The Edge” will know, my own company, Higher-Edge, and its brand the Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC), is the leading global initiative recruiting students to Canadian universities.

So we are in the business which Mr. Leventhal writes about in “The Chronicle”, the well-known and respected publication on international education in the world.

As some commentaries on Leventhal’s column point out (found on-line and below the main article. The URL is at the bottom of this blog) his central thesis on how the US needs a concerted federal agenda to assist international student recruiting is really about his desire to have the US openly embrace a policy promoting the contracting of recruitment agencies.

“Policies discriminate against U.S. institutions that have engaged international-recruitment professionals abroad,” writes Leventhal, as well as going further. “In some cases, Education USA explicitly advises foreign students not to work with officially appointed in-country representatives of American institutions, effectively sabotaging efforts by those institutions. That seems wrong and misguided.”

I agree that it would be wiser for the US to be more open-minded when it comes to how to recruit international students. But I disagree with Mr. Leventhal on his soft approach to recognizing the widespread abuse by education agents around the world. Yes, I wrote “soft”.

Leventhal claims that the American International Recruitment Council, an organization he founded and established quality standards for international student recruitment, will and does, regulate against any abuse.

I heard that before in America. Regulations and regulators are supposed to prevent bankers, investment houses, energy companies, and others from taking advantage of the marketplace and the environment. And how well is that working out ?

As far as the American International Recruitment Council regulations, I surfed over to their list of accredited agencies and I spot several agencies I know of first hand as a long way from being honest brokers. One has to wonder how hard was it to get “accreditation” status?

As Mr. Leventhal’s own fine university system in the State of New York must be teaching now in its classes – regulation means nothing if its toothless, and sits in an obvious and undeclared conflict of interest.

Sources: “How the U.S. Can Stop Hindering Higher-Education Exports”. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 22, 2011.



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About Mel

Mel has consulted universities, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the field of international education since 1997. He is co-founder of Higher-Edge, the parent of Overseas, Overwhelmed, and a director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He is a former award-winning CBC reporter and holds a Masters degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.

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