Top tips on how to recruit fully funded students
“If you know of organisations in your market that fund students then get in touch with them, but make sure you have something to offer”
Students who are fully funded by external organisations such as governments agencies or private companies are the gold dust that every international officer or student recruiter is looking for.
Funding overseas study is expensive; there is no question about it. Between tuition fees and living costs to study in the UK alone, the costs can vary between anything from £20,000 to £35,000 or more. Here are some tips on how to find that gold dust for your institution.
- Take a reality check
Do you already have fully funded students but you just don’t know about it? If you don’t know then contact student records or admissions and ask for a list of all students who were externally funded. This will likely come up with a list of organisations you are not familiar with that you can make contact with and see how to grow these numbers.
- Check out the competition
What market do you operate in? A number of universities will actively promote external scholarships on university web pages so check out your competitor’s country pages for a list of scholarship organisations.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get
If you know of organisations in your market that fund students then get in touch with them but before you do so, make sure you have something to offer. A lot of organisations will only fund niche courses or specific disciplines so it’s always best to check before you make your pitch.
If you are in country and able to visit a sponsor whether it’s a private company or a Ministry, make the effort to go and see them. This could pay dividends. Don’t have a meeting? Then why not just show up to the office anyway, you have nothing to lose, they can only say no.
- Do not rely on emails
If you emailed a potential sponsor and did not hear back, then call them, physically visit them, find someone who works for them via LinkedIn, go to the office and ask for a person who deals with scholarship students. Chances are, you will get through to someone but if you wait for an email response then you could be waiting a long time.
- Get the offer letter out
There are always deadlines for students to submit applications to funding organisations so if a student informs you they cannot apply to get funding without an offer letter from you then prioritise this and get the offer out, do not let it sit pending.
- Offer a discount
There is no denying that every international student would ideally like some form of tuition fee discount, the scholarship organisations are no exception. Don’t wait on them asking for a discount, why not insist on giving them one, this will stand your organisation in good stead as you are showing them you want to help them make their budget go that little bit further.
- It takes two to Tango
Do not solely rely on the relationship you have with the scholarship organisation, it is imperative that your pipeline of applicants and offer holders also apply directly to the organisations for funding. Even if there is a “list” or unofficial list, just ask the offer holders to apply to them directly anyway as you never know there might be some funding available.
- Due diligence
There are a number of fraudulent and fake sponsors circulating regularly and they sometimes slip through the net. Who is verifying the external sponsors that send you letters? Make sure you are 100% satisfied that a sponsor is genuine because if not, further down the line it could have serious implications.
10. Get paid
One of the biggest challenges sometimes is getting paid after the students arrive on campus, make sure you have as many direct lines of communications with the sponsor as possible so that if need be you can call/email/WhatsApp/skype someone to move the payment along and keep the finance team happy.
Author: Jamie Hastings, founder, My International Office (MYiO Ltd), based in Aberdeen, Scotland is a company that offer outsourced international student recruitment services and training to universities, private providers and colleges with a focus on filling in gaps where the international requires support. More information on services and training can be found here.