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7 Nov, 2013

Why bogus overseas colleges target Chinese students


Beijing, November 06, 2013, (People’s Daily Online) – The bogus college, also known as a ‘diploma mill’, general refers to an unaccredited higher education institution that offers fake academic degrees for money. To create a semblance of authenticity and to lure students, many of them choose names that closely resemble the names of respected and world-recognized universities.

The Center for China and Globalization (CCG) warns that bogus colleges that mislead overseas students are becoming a significant problem; many overseas students invest money, time and energy in exchange for a worthless return. Currently, more than half of bogus colleges are located in America, where the overall number – 1008 unqualified colleges – represents a 20% increase over 2010. According to the CCG report, 95% of fake diplomas from bogus American colleges were awarded to Chinese students, making China the ultimate victim.

Over the years, the Chinese government has adopted a series of measures to redress the growth of fake overseas qualifications, but these appear to have had a limited impact. The subject needs to be addressed; overseas students provide a substantial financial boost to the American economy. The annual fees paid by an international student equate to the living costs for four American families. Some American universities are currently struggling to attract sufficient student numbers, so they try every possible means to lure foreign students in order to keep their courses open. This includes reducing their qualifications for admission, engaging in deception, and neglecting any responsibility to their students after issuing them with unaccredited certificates.

Why is it that Chinese students are the biggest target of these fake American diplomas? There are two reasons: one is that many Chinese companies prefer employees who have a foreign diploma to support their multinational businesses. Job seekers or employees who have overseas study experience will have an advantage in terms of jobs, promotion, and other benefits. A second reason is that some Chinese students want to circumvent the tough and competitive Chinese examination system; they look for a shortcut to a foreign diploma in order to feed their vanity.

It is therefore apparent that to break the cycle of bogus colleges throwing fake diplomas at Chinese students, the key is domestic companies correctly understanding the relative value of foreign diplomas and indigenous certificates, addressing them in a rational way, and applying equal treatment to returnees and graduates from domestic universities equally. If foreign diplomas are given less prominence, there will be less of a market for fake qualifications from bogus foreign colleges, and as a result there will be fewer students who are willing to spend so much money on such worthless certificates.