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Chinese applications to U.S. schools skyrocket


Today, China sends more of its students to America than any other country. During the 2010-11 academic year, 157,588 Chinese students were studying in the U.S. – an increase of 23 percent from the previous year, according to the Institute of International Education

The growing market of Chinese students wanting to go to the U.S. has created various cottage industries in China and the U.S. –  among them are education consultants who help students navigate the maze of college applications and "brokers" representing American universities who seek student candidates paying full tuition. But it's also fueled anxiety among American students and their parents about increased competition from abroad.

China sent its first student to an American college in 1850: A native of Guangdong Province named Yung Wing earned his degree from Yale University, paving the way for thousands more over the following century.

The flow of students from China to America dried up in the 1950s when the establishment of the People’s Republic of China gave way to tumult and isolation, and did not re-start until 1974 1978.

From then until just a few years ago, "It was almost all graduate students, most of them funded by the host universities through research assistantships or teaching assistantships," said Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president at the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Now, Chinese undergraduates drive the growth, particularly in the past two years.  At the start of the 2006-07 academic year, 9,955 Chinese undergrads were enrolled in U.S. schools. The following year, that figure jumped to 16,450.  By the 2010-11 academic year, 56,976 undergraduates made up a third of all Chinese students living in the U.S.

  • 1/11/2012

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