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THRIVE Act agent “fix” signed into law in US

Higher education institutions that were barred from using commission-based agents to recruit international students under a bill are permitted to do so after an amendment was added to the law.

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Signed into law in June 2020, stakeholders said an unintended consequence of the THRIVE Act meant that the payment of commissions to agents was banned if institutions received funding from a GI Bill.

International education organisations such as the American Council on Education, NAFSA and American International Recruitment Council pressed for amendments to the bill to ensure institutions would still be permitted to collaborate with commission-based agents to recruit students.

Bills to “fix” the ban were introduced in October, before passing into the Senate in early December.

Stakeholders had pressed for similar language to the 1965 Higher Education Act, which permits the use incentive compensation to recruit international students, to be added to the THRIVE Act. The relevant wording has now been added, after President Biden signed the technical corrections bill in late December.

“The REMOTE Act restores the ability of US higher education institutions to both serve military veterans and recruit international students utilising incentive-based compensation agreements,” Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO of NAFSA, said.

“At a time when US international student enrolment is already on the decline and other countries are making gains in attracting global talent, the US can hardly afford to limit the tools available to higher education institutions for recruiting international students.

“We thank our many advocates and coalition partners for joining us in this effort and commend the House and the Senate for taking action to ensure that US colleges and universities can compete for international student talent on equal footing with its global competitors and without detriment to American veterans.”

“The REMOTE Act allows institutions that receive GI Bill funding to compensate educational agencies for international student recruitment by using commission-based payments,” said AIRC’s Brian Whalen.

“This restores an important recruitment tool to institutions”

“This restores an important recruitment tool to institutions at a time when the US seeks to attract and enrol greater numbers of international students.”

AIRC member institutions and agencies had helped to modify the law “in a relatively short period of time”, he added.

“As we turn the corner toward 2022, let’s be thankful for our progress and hopeful for much brighter days ahead.”

Agents had been concerned about the issue, with managing director of India-based Career Mosaic Abhijit Zaveri stating in September that, “Without agents – recruiting can’t work any more for international students”.

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