Best Practices for Institutional Relations and Marketing Education Abroad on Campuses

These guidelines are intended for organizations, institutions and program organizers (such as faculty leaders) who promote education abroad programs to: institutions, students at other institutions, students on the institutions’ own campuses.

These guidelines are equally intended for the institutions at which these programs are promoted. For the sake of clarity, the organization, institution or program organizer promoting the program will be referred to as the ‘program organizer’ and the institution at which the programs are promoted will be referred to as ‘the institution’ or ‘the campus.’

I. Campus Relations and Student Recruitment

  • The provider organization engages in student recruitment practices that respect institutional structures and policies, and benefit students.
  •  Institutions have clear policies and procedures that address the marketing of education abroad programs on campus, and these policies are disseminated to relevant offices and departments, advisers, faculty and students.
  •  All parties should understand that there are various stakeholders involved in the marketing of programs, and strive to establish clear channels to communicate effectively among and between these stakeholders.

a. How does the institution develop and maintain clear guidelines and processes for education abroad program recruitment by external entities?
b. How are appropriate education abroad contacts identified?
c. How are approval processes and criteria made transparent?
d. How are departmental or faculty contact guidelines made available?
e. How does the provider organization follow campus guidelines?
f. How does the provider organization respect timelines and restrictions that are established by the campus?
g. How does the institution or provider organization ensure transparency about any compensation that former program-participants, faculty, or campus staff/administration or the institution receives for program recruitment?

II. Campus – Program Organizer Collaborations

  • The institution and the provider organization work together to create an ethical and effective partnership benefiting students.
  • The provider organization collaborates with the education abroad or other designated institutional office, and follows a mutually agreed upon protocol regarding communication with various campus constituents (students, staff, faculty).
  • Education abroad (or other designated) offices have published processes and policies for working with provider organizations, and clearly communicate these criteria to provider organizations, staff, and students.

1. Working with the College or University campus

a. How does the institution (including program leaders)or provider organizations clearly designate in print and electronically how to communicate with the appropriate campus contact?
b. How are administrative and faculty offices and departments informed about managing contact with provider organizations?
c. How do the institution and provider organization share their ethical guidelines, including guidelines for communication practices?

2. Campus Visits & Education Abroad Fairs

a. What are the institution’s policies regarding the selection and approval of provider organizations and programs for promoting programs at on-campus meetings and education abroad fairs? Where education abroad fairs are regional, what are the agreed-upon guidelines for all participating institutions?
b. How are these policies communicated to provider organizations?
c. What is the institution’s policy and practice for how a provider organization should approach an education abroad adviser for permission for a campus visit; how does the institution identify institutional liaisons or primary points of contact?
d. By what process does the institution communicate in a fair, clear and timely way to a provider organization when a visit or participation in an education abroad fair is not permitted?

 3. Ethical Concerns

a. What processes and policies does the institution have for working with provider organizations?
b. Does the institution have a published protocol with clear contact points and policies for those seeking to visit the institution or establish a relationship on how to partner with the campus?
c. What ethical guidelines are followed regarding the discussion of topics such as student enrollments, expected incentives, familiarization visits, program review visits, or service on advisory boards?
d. To what ethical guidelines outlining conflicts of interest (including non-financial interests) do  the institution and provider organization adhere?
e. How do the institution and provider organization train staff on issues related to the sharing of proprietary business and/or financial information?

4. The Role of Past Program Student Participants (“Program Alumni”) in Program Promotion

a. What are the guidelines and processes of the institution for past participants of a provider program in promoting that program on campus?
b. How does the provider organization involve former program participants in promoting their programs in ways appropriate to the institution/campus?
c. How does the provider organization encourage former participants to collaborate with the campus education abroad office on promotional initiatives?
d. How are former participants informed of campus policies and procedures for education abroad and promotion on that campus and/or to their peers?
e. How does the provider organization ensure that former program participants do not receive payment specifically linked to the number of students recruited or enrolled for that program?
f. How does the provider organization follow appropriate practices for interacting with students and program alumni?

 III: Marketing Materials and Communications

  • The provider organization’s marketing materials are accurate and contain the most up-to-date content, and provide content that is appropriate to the information needs of different audiences, such as institutions, advisers, students and parents.
  • The provider organization commits to the program offerings as represented in its marketing materials. If changes are made to program offerings after materials have been developed and distributed, institutions and individual students are informed of these changes prior to their enrollment in a program.
  • Institutions communicate clearly about the limitations of promoting specific program offerings, the expectations of providers at an on-campus education abroad fair, and policies for on-campus promotional and recruitment visits, and for posting visual materials on campus.
  • The provider organization will follow campus guidelines for posting visual materials on campuses and linking electronically to campus websites.
  • The provider organization’s representatives at fairs and office/campus visits are trained to and knowledgeable about individual campus guidelines, and are respectful when working with on-campus stakeholders, when talking with and about other provider organizations, and when cooperating with requests by institutions/affiliates.
  • Institutions will communicate clearly regarding limitations of program offerings/portfolio, expectations of providers at their fair and regarding on-campus visits and postering policies.

Written & Electronic Material

1. Content and distribution of web and print program material

a. How does the provider organization ensure that marketing materials fully informs all students?
b. How does the material address informational needs of different audiences beyond the student, such as advisers, faculty, or parents?
c. How does the promotional material provide academic, curricular and co-curricular information so that the students, advisers, and faculty may make informed program choices?

2. Which of the following information is available and easily accessible in print and/or web-based material? Why are any of the pieces of information listed below not available?

a. Program sponsorship and program contact information, including names of responsible parties, street addresses, and phone numbers
b. Student body composition
c. Photo and/or other visual representations that fairly represent program sites, facilities, academics, co-curricular and free-time options.
d. Academic

i. Academic requirements
ii. Course information
iii. Faculty credentials
iv. The basis for credit recommendations and credit transfer policies

e. Financial

i. Up-to-date price and cost information, including notice of potential fee increases
ii. Applicable financial aid and scholarship information and policies
iii. Refund policies
iv. Fee inclusions and exclusions

f. Housing and facilities
g. Student services and social/cultural programming
h. Health and safety information

3. Termination of Communication

a. By what process does the provider organization offer a direct way for institutions and students to immediately terminate communication, and for the institutions or students to stop receiving electronic and all other forms of communication about the provider’s programs?
b. What process does the provider organization have in place to eliminate specific institutions/campuses from promotional campaigns, when requested by the institution?

4. Web and Print References to U.S. Institutions

a. When the provider organization print and/or web site materials include the name and or link to the website of an institution:
b. How does the provider organization get approval of any institution for the institution to be listed, particularly if the context suggests an affiliation or endorsement of a program or set of programs?
c. How often does the provider organization seek permission from an institution before listing it?
d. How promptly does the provider organization remove the institution from a listing if an institution does not want to be listed and requests to be removed?

Tables, Display, and Promotion

1. Provider organization representatives should comply with an institution’s event instructions.
2. How does the institution provide clear and timely instructions about the requirements in advance of the event?
3. How do visiting representatives comply with the instructions for set-up, teardown and display?
4. Representatives (including past program participants) should be knowledgeable, experienced and competent to answer questions from prospective students.
5. How does the organization provide training for representatives?
6. How are representatives informed about the expectations for their behavior while on campus?

“Postering” on  Campuses

1. Postering on campuses should respect the institutional guidelines for this activity.
2. How does provider organization “poster” in a manner that respects the institution’s policies on approved programs?
3. How does the provider organization communicate policies to their staff and/or staff in companies if they have outsourced the task?
4. What is the institution’s policy regarding the promotion of education abroad programs not approved by the institution?
5. What is the provider organization’s policy regarding postering at campuses with which they have no formal affiliation?