Two University of California schools — no, not Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, or UCSB — got caught offering special incentives to try to lure wealthy Chinese nationals to attend their universities. The two culprits? Look no further than UC Riverside and UC Irvine, two of the less prestigious UC schools (hey, the prestigious ones don’t need to go to such lengths!). UC Irvine, if our readers happen to remember, has caught some flack on the pages of our college admissions blog in the past over allegations of anti-Semitism and now it seems the school is in some hot water again along with UC Riverside. So what did they do? Wonder no more!
As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “An Extra Edge for Wealthy Chinese?,” “Two University of California campuses — Irvine and Riverside — have for several years provided extra help to students who enroll at an elite high school in China, according to an article in Insider. The two campuses offered ‘specially tailored summer programs, a written pledge to work with students so they’d be competitive applicants for admission, special permission to apply [to the university] even after the university deadline had passed, and — at least according to one local school official in California who worked closely with the Chinese school — guaranteed admission to UC Riverside for all graduates,’ the article says. The high school, called the Pegasus California School, ‘guaranteed parents, in writing, that every graduate would gain admission to one of the top 100 U.S. universities,’ the article says. The universities’ representatives told Inside Higher Ed there may be a problem with how their arrangement is described to potential and actual students of the high school, but they insisted that they have never promised admission to students across the board at Pegasus California School, or at any other high school.”
We’ve written about unethical admissions agents in China in the past — and how they’re often paid directly by universities to lure Chinese nationals to attend. To be clear, this is not the case at America’s highly selective universities. Our nation’s top schools simply don’t do this sort of thing nor do they need to when so many students covet seats. But for schools that struggle with enrollment and struggle to lure full-paying students, well, they often look to Chinese admissions agents to fill their coffers. So this developing story at Pegasus California School should come as little surprise to our readers. But we’ll keep you updated on any new developments with the story. So stay tuned!
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