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US tightens 2014 study abroad standards

2014-01-08 10:01 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Applications from Chinese students hoping to study in the US this year will be reviewed with more scrutiny and scholarships more difficult to obtain, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Education.

Sun Hongmo, director of China Center for International Education Exchange of the Ministry, said Monday that about 500,000 Chinese will study abroad this year, reported the Beijing Morning Post on Tuesday.

According to Sun, the number of Chinese students enrolled overseas has grown steadily since 2008, with last year seeing about 450,000 studying abroad at their own expense.

A total 45 percent of Chinese students in the US last year pursued graduate degrees, while undergraduate students accounted for 40 percent.

"Outside of the graduate students, most were under the age of 18," said Sun.

Sun also predicted that less scholarships would be awarded to Chinese applicants due to the rising number of applications from graduate degree-seekers in 2014.

While more than 40 countries recognize diplomas issued by Chinese universities, such as Cuba, Latvia, Sri Lanka and Cameroon, some Western nations do not recognize Chinese college degrees.

In contrast, the wide recognition of degrees from American universities makes the US an attractive place to study.

However with the increase in Chinese students enrolled in the US, more universities are going to great lengths to authenticate the veracity of Chinese school transcripts through the Ministry of Education.

Many universities now conduct video interviews to help verify the content of student applications, said Sun.

Though many schools in the US overhauled the format, framework and content requirements of applications from foreign students in August last year, Sun says these changes will not dampen Chinese students' enthusiasm to study abroad.

"The changes have made applying more convenient, swiftly processed and personalized. This will not influence the total amount of students applying to study in the US," said Sun.

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