Chinese students regularly rank among the best performing in the world, but that’s not always the case when they enroll in U.S. schools.
Roughly 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from U.S. colleges and universities last year, predominantly for bad grades and cheating, according to a new report from WholeRen Education, a Pennsylvania-based education consultancy that caters to Chinese students.
Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen, told The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time blog,
“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”
The study was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from American universities last year. 80.55% of Chinese students’ dismissals “resulted from academic dishonesty or low academic performances,” while just over 50% of the students had a GPA lower than a 2.0 — typically, a C.
It was also noted that more than half of the Chinese students expelled were from top 100 U.S. universities.
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.
However, Chen said, in reality they are not always prepared to study in highly-competitive programs, as in Chinese universities, plagiarism often goes unpunished and professors rarely fail their students.
Last year alone, 459,800 students went overseas to study, according to China’s Ministry of Education, while the Project Atlas reports that there were an estimated 274,439 Chinese students in the U.S. over the last academic year.
As WholeRen representatives pointed out, since “huge numbers” of Chinese students study at American schools each year, a few thousand expulsions is not a terrible failure rate, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China.
According to recent surveys, around one-third of America’s nearly 1 million international college students are from China.
One Reddit user, ‘LucyRoessler‘, noted that expulsion rates may seem high for Chinese students studying abroad because they don’t have much of an option to dropout.
“One thing I wonder though, is it’s a lot easier for a local kid to drop out because of their bad grades. The Chinese kid gets his student visa revoked if he’s not in school so he doesn’t drop out, he rides those s****y grades all the way to expulsion. So while dropping out and expulsion aren’t technically the same, for Chinese students they are because they don’t really have the dropout option.”
Financially strained public universities are aggressively recruiting students from abroad. Some speculate that the expulsions can in part be caused because the English requirement levels universities and colleges are set up too low in order to attract foreign students who have wealthy parents that can afford to pay the colleges tens of thousands of dollars each year for their child to attend.