Large Numbers of Chinese Nationals Caught Cheating in U.S. College Applications and in Classrooms

Eduardo Neret of Campus Reform recently reported on some of the “many methods that Chinese nationals have reportedly used to gain acceptance into U.S. colleges and universities.”

“Fake transcripts and essays, falsified letters of recommendation and test scores, paid consultants, and fake passports and IDs” are some of the ways that Chinese nationals try to enter the U.S. educational system.

These incidents started out as isolated incidents but “has now turned into a vast, international money-making industry.”

In April, Hiu Kit David Chong, an admissions official at the University of Southern California (USC), pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud and in aiding Chinese students create fraudulent college applications. According to the Department of Justice, confessed to making $40,000 from a number of clients during the past few years by providing “false college transcripts with inflated grades,” “fraudulent personal statements,” and “phony letters of recommendation” to them as they applied to universities.

Additionally, the admissions official even offered to supply surrogate test takers for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam for international students.

A 2012 report by Time Magazine highlighted how a “huge industry of education agents” has grown to cater to a growing number of Chinese nationals who have desires of studying abroad at U.S. universities.

According to Zinch China, a consultancy firm, 80 percent of Chinese students use agents to file applications to U.S. colleges, with increasing numbers of them engaged in cheating. The company estimated that 90 percent of recommendation letters and 70 percent of college essays that Chinese students submitted are fraudulent. Furthermore, 50 percent of previous grade transcripts are also fraudulent. Ten percent lied about academic or extracurricular achievements and another 30 percent lied about financial aid information.

Surveys revealed that Chinese families view U.S. education as a luxury that can yield future financial benefits, which motivates the “whatever it takes” mentality that characterizes the manner in which Chinese nationals go about the application process. Zinch China also highlighted that the competition among college consultants and the pressure from parents also played a role in the cheating.

“Cheating is pervasive in China, driven by hyper-competitive parents and aggressive agents,” Tom Melcher, the chairman of Zinch China stated.

The number of Chinese students has grown substantially during the last decade. According to the Power of International Education, the number of Chinese foreign students in the U.S. as of 2019 was 369,548, which Neret noted is “more than the next three nations, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, combined.”

What see here is another reminder of why the U.S. must drastically reduce migration from China. Although China has made somewhat of a transition from its authoritarian past, it still remains an adversary.

Like many U.S. adversaries, China recognizes the flaws in the U.S. migration system and will likely exploit them in ways that benefit its national interests.

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