China sends more students abroad for an education than any other country in the world. Some estimates say that there are over a million overseas Chinese students, with continued growth ahead in the coming years. What’s driving this trend in international education and what do Chinese students look for in Western universities?
90% Of China’s Super-Rich Want To Send Children Abroad
The International Business Times reports that 9 of every 10 Chinese with assets of more than 100 million yuan ($16 million) plan to send their children abroad, while 85 percent of those with at least $1 million said they would send their children overseas for education. China’s growing middle class also has aspirations to send their children abroad for an education.
The United States is their top choice for higher education. Wealthy Chinese parents value its “all-around development” and “quality-oriented education” and criticize Chinese schooling as being too rigid and mechanical with an over-emphasis on rote memorization rather than critical thinking.
Where are China’s Ultra-Rich Sending Their Children to Study?
Why the Chinese are Flocking to U.S. Colleges
CNN has an opinion piece by William Bennett that explains China’s fascination with American universities. His basic points are that Chinese parents will sacrifice almost anything for their child’s education. Middle-class families are more likely to spend their income on education rather than leisure. Despite all their shortcomings, American universities are seen as emblems of the highest achievement to the Chinese.
What Chinese Students Want
An Inside Higher Ed article recaps a presentation given at NAFSA by Tom Melcher, Zinch China’s chairman. He advises that colleges should not lead with cost but focus on quality instead. He added that this is even true for community colleges, which he said should emphasize their articulation agreements with name-brand four-year institutions, rather than their bargain price.
Melcher also presented data from Zinch regarding the factors influencing Chinese students’ college choices. Students list availability of their desired major as the top decision-making factor. The next four factors listed by students were safety, philosophical approach to education, cost, and rankings.
“Most U.S. schools do not put their majors front and center. Instead, they talk about when they were founded in 1823 and the beautiful lake and their Division I sports teams and all these fabulous things. If you want to figure out what majors they offer, it’s buried somewhere, but in China it actually needs to be front and center.” – Tom Melcher, Zinch China
What Hong Kong Students Look for Overseas
According to a new British Council study the attributes that most influence Hong Kong students who want to study overseas are the reputation of a school, national stereotypes, government policy and safety concerns.
Hong Kong students also look for a foreign university that will be well recognized, particularly in the workplace. They are also greatly swayed by host countries’ immigration policies. The survey found that their ability to stay and work overseas could greatly influence their choice of destination.