Foreign universities are recruiting Chinese students to their home campuses.
A mutually beneficial relationship
While many foreign universities have set up joint programmes or campuses in China, even more are recruiting Chinese students to their home campuses. In 2008, a total of 98,510 Chinese students arrived in colleges and universities in the US alone to begin undergraduate or postgraduate studies. Students from overseas can be a valuable source of revenue, since they typically pay higher fees.
For example, the University of Nottingham in the UK charges home students £3,290 (Dh18,347) a year to study agriculture, while international students pay £14,260. Growth in recruitment has been rapid. Shibin Li, the managing director of the Beijing office of Michigan State University, says that in 2003 it enrolled about 30 Chinese students to study in the US. Last year the university recruited 500. Numbers have increased, he says, "because Chinese guys are rich".
"The Chinese families now have money, and to get a visa is more easy," he says. The US authorities are thought to be keen to let Chinese students in, since China's rapid improvement in living standards means most will return home. "It's a gold mine," Mr Li adds. "The tuition every year is $42,000 [Dh154,000]. So that's 500 multiplied by $42,000." However, he says the university will restrict numbers to ensure a balance of nationalities among foreign students.
Universities also insist they take only highly qualified Chinese students. "We are more focused on the academic quality of the students rather than the number we admit," says Wanling Qu of the Beijing office of the University of Minnesota, an institution that last year recruited 254 Chinese students, bringing the total in the university to 1,400. And they could do well once they returned home.Sonia Sren, a recruitment assistant at Kansas State University's office in Beijing, says a Chinese person with a degree from the US may enjoy improved employment prospects.