There are bad apples in every basket, and international student recruitment is no exception. In order to prevent fraud, avoid the risk of broken dreams and lost tuition fees, we thought we can share with you the most recent infamous stories about study agent frauds. Let’s analyze together the key lessons we can take from those cases!
In 2016, 57 agents performed fraudulent activities regarding the financial documents and English language skills of Indian students. The agents presented universities with fake student loans and other confirmations about students’ ability to pay the tuition or support themselves with day-to-day living expenses. Most of the students were not aware of all the fraudulent activities. Regardless, hundreds of Indians faced deportation and loss of their investment. According to one of their lawyers, they also felt deeply ashamed and upset due to their misfortunate situation.
In 2015, scammers targeted international students in Australia, offering them significant discounts on student fees. After ensuring students that they were study agents representing some of the biggest Australian universities, the criminals asked students to send money and then benefit from aforementioned discount. The amount of money stolen varies according to different sources. For example, unlucky Luke Zhang, a Chinese student, ended up with a total debt of $35,127.
In 2016, up to 25 students from India risked being deported from the US due to their lack of knowledge about computer programming. And isn’t that one of the main requirements in a computer programming graduate course? The university used the services of student recruitment agents who apparently had bended the truth about their representatives’ skills sets. The students had to choose between enrolling to another institution or leaving the US. The computer science faculty, on the other hand, is now handling their student screening by themselves.
What lessons to take from these situations?
Unlicensed education agents are more likely to commit fraud. Always use agents licensed by the British Council, American International Recruitment Council, EducationUSA, Campus France or other notable trustworthy partners. List the agents you work with on your institution’s website so your prospective students can see them and are aware about their legitimacy.
Fraud can be committed by both agents and local banks, too. Ensure the legitimacy of any prospective student’s financial documents by double-checking not only with the agent but also with their bank.
Fake language certificates are also a very common issue. Make sure that an accredited institution tests your future international students for their language skills. If possible, list information about language requirements on your website and make sure it is available in at least a few languages.
Many students are unaware about the risk of fraud and actual enrolment requirements, so you must speak up about this kind of fraud. Inform your current and prospective students about these threats and give advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
What is your experience about preventing study agent fraud cases? What kind of support do you offer for your international students regarding their rights?
Please share your insights in the comments!