The Chinese Student Syndrome

Marketplace Contributor Nov 9, 2011

It’s a match made in the global economy. Chinese students covet diplomas from American colleges and universities, and they’ve got the prosperity to pay full tuition. American universities hammered by budget cuts need the money. In the middle, are hundreds of agencies in China with one purpose: to make the match. More than 130,000 Chinese students now attend universities here.

But first, those students need to navigate the American college admissions system, which is nothing like the process in China. That’s where the agencies come in. While they claim to guide students through the process, many do much more than that. Former employees of one agency told Marketplace they routinely faked application materials for students — writing their essays and recommendation letters, and even persuading high schools to change the students’ grades.

In this joint report from Shanghai Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz and Education Correspondent Amy Scott, Marketplace explores the Chinese Student Syndrome — how U.S. colleges are grappling with the questionable credentials coming from China, even as they profit from the system.


Chinese students, too qualified to be true?

The lure of Chinese students

Foreign students in U.S. at record high

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.