A STARTLING two-point-three percent

If we counted the number of students who cheated in college, what number would be more shocking—2.3% or 70%?

Well, according to the Institute of International Education, 274,439 students from China attended school in the United States in 2013-14, and the report went on: “A startling number of Chinese students are getting kicked out of American colleges. According to a white paper published by WholeRen, a Pittsburgh-based consultancy, an estimated 8,000 students from China were expelled (2.9% of the total) from universities and colleges across the United States in 2013-4. The vast majority of these students—80 percent of 8,000 equals 6.400 (2.3%)—were removed due to cheating or failing their classes.

My first impression while reading the report was that it made the Chinese students look horrible—until I stopped to think and asked what those numbers really meant, and I discovered that alleging that a “startling number of Chinese students are getting kicked out of American colleges” is an exaggeration in the best tradition of Yellow Journalism.

What I found most disturbing with this inflammatory and biased report is that there is no comparison with the total number of college students. To discover that comparison, I turned to Google and found my first source at Forbes.com that said, “The vast majority of students don’t graduate on time. … In fact, most students don’t graduate at all. For new first-time, full-time students in the class of 2009 at four-year institutions, only 39% completed a degree in four years. 58% completed a degree within six years. At two-year colleges, 31% of the 2008 cohort graduated within three years of starting. At two-year public colleges, which educate the greatest share of students, this number was only 20%.”

My next quest was to discover how many Chinese students dropped out of college to return to China, and I found one answer from the International Business Times where Michelle FlorCruz wrote, “One in four Chinese students drop out of Ivy Universities and return home for jobs.” If that 25% is startling, what do we call the 61% of Americans who didn’t finish in four years, the 41% who didn’t finish in six years or the 69% to 80% that drop out of a two year college? Clearly, more Chinese stay  in college to graduate than American students, and that is really startling, but in a good way. Before I go on, consider that English is a second language for all of the Chinese students.

At Open Education Database (OEDb.org), I discovered that “60.8% of polled college students admitted to cheating.” In addition, “This lines up closely with a questionnaire sent out to Rutgers students as well, to which 68% of students confessed that they had broken the university’s explicit anti-cheating rules. And the number only seems to swell as the years progress, with freshmen the most likely to fudge their way through class.” And “85% of them think cheating is essential. Even college students that don’t cheat still think it a valuable strategy to scoring the best grades, internships, scholarships and awards possible.”

In a sample of 1,800 students at nine state universities: – caveon.com Test Security

70% of the students admitted to cheating on exams

84% admitted to cheating on written assignments

52% had copied a few sentences from a website w/o citing the source

Before I finish, one last thought. There’s another number the U.S. media recklessly throws around without a proper explanation—the ratio of college graduates compared to other countries.

For instance, we will probably never hear in the media that the United States graduates more students from college than any country on the planet, and I’m not talking about ratios/percentages. I’m talking about total numbers. The U.S. doesn’t have the highest ratio of college graduates (what the media reports to make the U.S. look bad), but the U.S. does have the most college graduates.

There is a reason for that. The U.S. has the 3rd largest population on the planet at 316+ million. Only China and India have more people, and if we look at the total number of college graduates age 25 to 34, the U.S. has about 17.6 million in that age bracket (actually a lot closer to 100 million if we include ages 25 to 65).

It’s true that Ireland, for instance, has a slightly higher ratio of college graduates (43.9% to 43% for the U.S.) in the same age bracket, but Ireland only has a total population of 4.8 million people, and about a half million are college graduates ages 25 to 34 or 2.8% of the total number of college graduates in the U.S.

If we look at the few countries that graduate higher ratios of college students than the U.S., there is no way  any of them will have more college graduates.

For instance, Japan graduates 53.7% of ages 25 to 34, but Japan’s total population is only 126.8 million or 40% of the United States. The same goes for Russia with 146.7 million people or less than half the population of the U.S.

It’s even worse for South Korea with only 50.4 million people, or Canada with only 35.5 million people .

In conclusion, why is that 2.3% is more shocking to the U.S. media than the total number of cheaters—is it because they are Chinese?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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