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ITECA calls for framework for onshore agents

The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia is urging the government to create a framework for onshore international student agents.

Education agents help facilitate a "genuine" student experience but onshore players need regulating, ITECA suggested. Photo: Pexels

A national code should require international education agents to disclose fees payable to them to a student upfront

Writing to the department of education, the peak body representing independent providers in Australian higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors called for an agent registration scheme to “better safeguard the interest of international students”.

It suggested that education agents working onshore need to face similar regulations as those operating overseas.

The national code of practice for international education agents – introduced in 2018 – needs amendments, and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 will need to be extended to onshore agents.

“The overwhelming majority of agent—student—provider relationships are very positive,” ITECA chair Troy Williams wrote to the department of education, skills & employment.

“There are a small number of actors that appear more focused individual short-term gains”

“There are, however, a small number of actors in the sector that appear more focused individual short-term gains that do not benefit either students or providers and act to the long-term detriment of the sector.”

In addition, a national code should require international education agents to disclose fees payable to them to a student upfront, prior to enrolment.

“There should also be a corresponding obligation stipulating that a registered provider should be transparent with their students regarding the commissions paid to agents,” Williams said.

The registration scheme should operate on a full cost recovery basis with fees and charges levied on agents, he continued.

“There are a number of issues that need to be considered with respect to the proposed Registration framework for international education agents working within Australia,” he added.

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