Nearly one million international students are currently studying on American college campuses, almost one in three of those students is Chinese.
The recently released 2015 Open Doors Report, an annual survey by the nonprofit Institute of International Education, found that the number of international students in the United States is on the rise, reaching a record 974,926 for the 2014-15 academic year, a 10% increase from last year and the highest growth rate in 35 years.
For the sixth year in a row, Chinese students are the biggest international presence on campuses throughout the U.S. There are 304,040 Chinese students studying at American colleges and universities, once again, a 10% increase from last year as more and more middle-class Chinese parents look to send their children abroad for a better education.
However, with so many of their fellow countrymen on campus, Chinese students often have a hard time integrating into normal college social life. Foreign Policy summarizes just a few ways that American universities are trying to get Chinese students engaged in campus life:
The University of Illinois now broadcasts football games in Chinese. Purdue University in Indiana has hired Chinese-speaking counselors to staff campus mental health centers. University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, where one in five students is Chinese, has provided instruction to professors on how to correctly pronounce Chinese names.
Getting Chinese students, who often lack English skills, into top American universities has become a booming business in China and stateside with hopefuls often going to extreme lengths to gain admission, via Business Insider:
One admissions officer, while speaking with a Chinese student over Skype, thought it was strange that the student had a black cat in her lap during the interview. Several minutes into the interview, the admissions officer realized that it wasn’t a cat, but the hair from her mother’s head as she whispered answers to the applicant.
According to Zinch China, an educational consulting company, 90% of Chinese applicants submit fake recommendations, 70% have others write their essays for them, 50% forge their high school transcripts, and 10% list academic awards and other achievements that they never received.
Earlier this year, one of the biggest cheating scandals in recent memory was exposed with a group of 15 Chinese citizens accused of helping other foreign students gain admission to U.S. universities by providing intelligent impostors to take college entrance exams for their clients.
Of course, Chinese students are big business for the universities as well. In August, Chinese international students at the University of Sydney accused the school of intentionally failing them to rake in even more money.
American universities are just as addicted to Chinese international students, who contributed an estimated $22 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014, thanks to big spending “second-generation rich” kids who stock up on luxury products during their studies.
U.S. officials look to be cashing in on these lucrative assets. As part of a reciprocal US-China visa agreement last year, the U.S. has extended coveted five year visas to Chinese students studying in America.