Students & AAFOSRON
Studying in another country is a major investment of time and money for both students and their families who share the goal of improving a student’s career path. However the process is complex and requires patience and careful research.
Navigating an educational system in an unfamiliar culture and language is often complex and confusing. As a result many students interested in studying overseas choose to use student placement agencies for assistance.
It is critical when turning to a placement agency to understand its record of serving other students, the agency’s knowledge of the educational system of the intended country, and the strength of the agency’s relationship with its partner universities.
Students using an AAFOSRON Certified agency can be confident that they are being represented by an agency which is utilizing best practices and adhering to the highest ethical standards.
What Students Should Know About Working With International Education Agents
International education agents have many different business models. Some charge students for their services. Others receive payment from institutions following successful placement of a student. In some cases agents may receive payments both from the student and the institution. It is within your rights to know who is paying your agent. If in doubt, ask your agent or institutions you are considering attending.
What is an agent?
AAFOSRON defines an educational agency as an organization, company or association that recruits and places students into accredited colleges, universities and other educational institutions on a commercial ‘fee for service’ basis.
How agents are compensated:
Agents are generally compensated for their placement services through a fee for placement, or commission. This may be a per capita fee or a service agreement fee. The compensation arrangement is spelled out through a contract with the recruiting educational institution. Agencies in some parts of the world also charge fees to the students for their services.
Educational agents may also assist students in their application to universities without receiving compensation for the placement.
What should students look for in choosing an agent?
Look for agencies that have AAFOSRON Certification
- (read about certification here – http://www.aafosron.org.ng/aafosron-certification)
- ( a list of certified agencies is here: http://www.aafosron.org.ng/certified agencies)
Agencies that have been certified by AAFOSRON have demonstrated through independent review that they comply with 40 best practice areas, defined in the AAFOSRON Standards
Here are some examples of what an agency should be able to demonstrate according to AAFOSRON standards:
- have expert knowledge about the educational system and admissions processes of the country to which they are recruiting (US and Australia, etc. are not the same)
- have expert knowledge in visa and immigration policy and procedure and demonstrate a strong track record in clients’ receipt of study visas
- are continually updated on the admission policies, fees, and academic programs, etc. of the academic partners
- have a schedule of fees for services that is easily understood and equally applied
- have policies about refunds and a complaints mechanism
- can demonstrate they have active partnerships with the institutions they claim to represent
- have educational counselors that have visited the campuses they represent and/or hosted campus representatives in the agency office
- have been in business for at least 2 years and have a track record of placing students
- make promises or guarantees only when backed by facts that they can be achieved (for example, be wary of agencies that guarantee admission, scholarships, work-study)
- provide legitimate documents to institutions which are properly notarized or attested as to their authenticity
- have positive word of mouth and referrals from other students and families
What does it mean to be AAFOSRON Certified?
AAFOSRON Certification is an independent, non-profit, non governmental review processed created by the U.S. higher education community to ensure that agencies comply with AAFOSRON Certification Standards. The AAFOSRON Certification process consists of:
- A background check of the agency and its owners to determine any financial or ethical irregularities.
- A self study of agency operations based on the AAFOSRON Certification Standards.
- An external review of the agency offices, staff and management.
- Comments from the public on applicant agencies.
- A review of all records and vote by an independent certification board comprised of ICEF and education professionals.
Students and their families may reference the following list to determine if an agency is certified http://www.aafosron.org.ng/certified agencies or they may contact AAFOSRON directly if they have any questions about an agency’s certification or practices by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.