As tens of thousands of Chinese students prepare to study in the U.S., they might reflect on the experience of some of those who went before them. According to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone – and the main reasons were poor grades and cheating.
The estimate by WholeRen Education, a U.S. company that caters to Chinese students, was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from American universities last year. More than 80% of these students were expelled because of poor academic performance or dishonesty, the company said.
The company surveyed students about their U.S. study experience a year earlier but didn’t make any estimate for expulsions.
The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme.
Stacked up against the huge numbers of Chinese students who go to American universities every year, the failure rate isn’t so bad, WholeRen said, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China.
“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat,” said Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Two decades of rapid economic growth and a burgeoning middle class have given Chinese parents more resources to send their children abroad.
Last year alone, 459,800 students went overseas to study, according to China’s Ministry of Education. Most financed their studies on their own or had scholarships from a U.S. university. Only 4.6% of them were sponsored by the Chinese government.
Students from China account for nearly one-third of all international students in the U.S., taking the single largest share, according to a March report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Financially strained public universitiesare aggressively recruiting students from abroad.
Unlike American students who more frequently enter programs that fit their capabilities, Chinese students care most about the reputation of the school, trying hard to get into the top universities. But in reality they are not always prepared to study in highly-competitive programs, said Mr. Chen. More than half of the Chinese students expelled were from top 100 U.S. universities, the survey found. Cheating at exams, plagiarism and finding other students to write papers for them were frequently cited as the specific causes of expulsion, the survey showed.
In a commentary based on the survey, the state-run Guangming Daily said that the fact that thousands of students were expelled was not surprising given the large numbers of students in the U.S. It added that different education standards and different attitudes toward unacceptable behavior were partly to blame.