As a result of its growing economy, middle-class families from China are able to afford American college tuition, bringing an influx of Chinese students to study in the U.S. As a result, Michigan universities have reaped the benefit.
The growth of Chinese students in American schools is prominent around the country. According to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report, there was a 43 percent increase in undergraduate Chinese students between 2010 and 2011 in the U.S. States like California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois are the major hosts for these students.
Because of this increase, many believe that it is important to invest in Chinese students and partnerships with China. In 2010, Chinese students contributed $158 million to the Michigan economy and $185 million in 2011, according to the Open Doors report.
“It’s a huge economical benefit,” said Smriti Panda, an undergraduate admissions counselor at Wayne State. “They pay nearly twice the standard tuition.”
Because international students come to the U.S. for their studies, many do not have cars and live on campus, meaning that they invest in local grocery stores and other local outlets.
“Given the current economy, it is wise to have partnerships,” Panda said. “It’s a very positive win/win.”
WSU has seen significant growth over the past six years. In 2005, there were 271 Chinese students at WSU; by 2011, there were 335, according to a Feb. 5 article in Crain’s Detroit Business.
Michigan State University has seen a large increase, as well. In 2005, there were 41 Chinese undergraduate students, and in 2011, there were 2,410. At the University of Michigan, there were 796 Chinese students in 2005, which increased by 2011 to 1,853. The Institute of International Education found that 26.2 percent of international students in Michigan came from China, followed by 13.8 percent from India and 11.2 percent from South Korea, according to the Crain’s article.
Both China and India have growing middle-class economies and the largest populations in the world, so all of these social, economic and political changes are allowing the middle class to send their children overseas.
“This is a group that really wants an education,” Panda said. “The world is a lot smaller than it used to be with more business being done with China.”
Recently, WSU Provost Ronald Brown, associate vice president for educational outreach and international programs Ahmad Ezzeddine and College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi traveled to Xidian University and South China University of Technology (SCUT) to create the partnership known as 3 2 Program, allowing qualified engineering students to earn their undergraduate degree from Xidian or SCUT and then earn their master’s degree in two years at WSU.
Chinese students make up 18 percent of the international student population in America, Panda said. Undergraduate Chinese students make up 32.2 percent, 48.8 percent of the graduate students, 27.5 percent of the study business management — finance or economics — 19.2 percent study business engineering, 11.5 percent student life science and 10.6 percent study math or computer science, she said.
“I’ve had a very good experience,” said Quan Yuan, a graduate student in mathematics. “People are very nice and friendly.”
“I heard of WSU through the internet,” said Xiaoyue Cui, a graduate student studying mathematics. “This department has very good research; the professors are nice and very responsible and prepared. I’ve learned many things here and there are many interactions with other universities."