UK universities paying millions in agent fees to secure international students
Student recruitment industry has rapidly expanded as universities become increasingly dependent on income from overseas
Education agents are earning record commissions sourcing international students for UK universities, with one institution spending £28m on agent fees last year alone.
The figures obtained by the Observer give an insight into the lucrative student recruitment industry, which has grown rapidly amid a rise in international student numbers and increasing dependence by some universities on the income they provide. In the past year, just under 500,000 sponsored UK study visas were granted – 23% more than the year before, and double the number in 2019. A fifth of income received by UK universities now comes from international students, a recent Guardian analysis found.