Rising Number Of Chinese Students Attending U.S. Grad Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) — One of China’s most important exports isn’t steel, clothing, or electronics – it’s students.

Chinese students are flooding United States graduate schools. Admissions are up 23 percent this year, the sixth year in a row of a double-digit increase.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, it’s a result of China’s growing economic muscle.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago’s business school, there are so many Chinese students that they’re laughing about it.

“I noticed at the orientation – somebody called a joke, of course – it’s the University of China,” UIC student Yuan Ding said.

For the past few years, the business school enrolled about 300 Chinese grad students – sponsored by Chinese businesses or the government.

But this year, something else happened. Roughly half this year’s incoming students in the graduate accounting program are from China, with many more in the MBA program.

“There have always been a core of students in the accounting program from China, but this year the application rate went way up and the quality of these students is quite high,” UIC Assistant Dean Mary Clark said.

Yuan Ding, 34, worked eight years for GE in China before attending UIC.

“It’s … like a dream for me to study in U.S. So, we’ve been working a long time and we get enough money.”

Their presence here is a direct reflection of China’s increasing prosperity – a growing middle class that wants the best education for their kids and can pay for it.

“I want to learn, like, how to manage, how to handle my money and how to, like, treat my employees really well and how to start a business. That’s why I’m here,” MBA student Daniela Yu said.

Across town, Tiffany Ma is studying communications at DePaul University.

“My generation is definitely the first generation that we can just come, you know, as a choice – that we could just be, like, ‘Oh, I want to go to the U.S. and study,’ ” she said.

The one thing the Chinese students said over and over was that they wanted to study here because America has the best higher education in the world.

Most intend to take their talents back to China, because their economy at home is growing so fast and the opportunities are so plentiful.

On the other hand, these are the kinds of immigrants whose abilities could add tremendously to America’s economy. But the immigration laws often make it difficult for them to stay.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • r gallman

    let me try to fathom this—we are lagging behind in this country in our education
    but we open the door these people to come here get further educated so
    they can commit industrial espionage and steal our technology??? is it the
    money for these greedy schools—do we have students in china?? whatever
    happened to taking care of our own??? how can americans further their
    educational abilities??? these chinese are not helping us at all!!

    • Jrogers

      I totally agree–they come here with no language skills and even lesser social skills and understanding of our culture–all they do is memorize–they have no respect for our culture-UIC really stinks to allow this nonsense-there are way too many US citzens who are rejected from grad school, med school, law school, etc becasue these foreigners come here and take over-I will never donate a dme to UIC again-all the Chinese, Indians and others should get out of this county at once-

  • Daniel J.

    In today’s society it is not at all unusual for students to come here to study from other countries or for U.S. students to travel to Canada, Europe, or even China to study. It’s a sign of our society become more and more globalized.


  • baltazar oliva

    I am sorry for some of those commnts made above by people who are so stupid. Why can’t we also go to china to be educated there? First of all, it is a lot cheaper and perhaps some youg minds can learn about the world by going abroad.

  • UICMBAstudent

    Anyone who thinks that we should only educate our own citizens, that the U.S. has “ownership” of any technology or industrial secrets, or that it’s possible for the U.S. to isolate itself in the arenas of education and business is in denial about the realities of globalization. That said, I am a student in the UIC MBA program, and I am dismayed about how many of my Chinese classmates seem extremely bright but cannot speak English satisfactorily. (The English of the interviewees in this story is way above average.) In B-school courses, the final grade is almost always partially based on a group presentation or paper. Teammates without adequate language skills put undue pressure on native speakers, and I have felt more than once that my grade was in jeopardy because of it. Usually, I end up volunteering to write a whole paper myself. I’m a part-time student who works full-time and is a parent of toddlers. I’m already stretched so thin, and I resent having to bear an uneven share of the workload at school.

  • BetterEducation

    The reporting here makes it seem like the university is accepting Chinese students over Americans. Truth is foreign students outnumber Americans in application process. Universities like UIC that have to rely on state funds accept a higher number of foreign students each year because it does great things to their bottomline – these students pay full out-of-state tuition and can receive no federal aid which means no FAFSA services are required. Yes, these students can and do receive assistantships (fellowship, research, teaching or graduate) but those are based on individual department’s needs. A research, teaching or graduate assistantship is a well subsidized labor force for the university that adds no benefits expense but adds valuable, skilled workforce on the cheap. In exchange, these students get a decent education.

    Oh, and that full tuition these students pay? That helps university run its many centers and services departments that serve the undergraduate population. So these guys are actually helping out the US.

    We’re lagging behind in education not because we open our doors to foreign students; but because we arent graduating high school students that would be ready for the kind of rigorous training that is required for winning the future. The math and science skills of incoming freshmen is so awful, college professors dont step into most 101 courses anymore – these foreign students do the teaching to our suburban schooled brats.

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