January 5th, 2017
This was initially posted on June 23rd, 2016
January 5th, 2017
This was initially posted on June 23rd, 2016
June 23rd, 2016
March 10th, 2016
On January 8, 2015, The Academic Degree and State Council of the Ministry of Education put to law the Degree (2015) No. 18, also known as the “Degree and Degree-Granting Information Management Approach.” This law directly affects the role of the State in the granting of the degrees by academic institutions throughout China.
The law is set to support institutional autonomy by allowing institutions of higher education to grant their own degrees. As of January 1, 2016, the State in China will no longer issue university degrees. However, centralization of all certificate date will continue to be managed by the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council.
Here are a few facts on the new law concerning the autonomy granted to institutions of higher education and their degree-granting authority:
1. Each institution has the freedom to design its own degree template, however, the information to be presented on the degrees must be in conformance with the law to include all the following:
• Color photo with embossed stamp of awarding institution
• Discipline or professional degree category
• Degree-granting institution name
• Certificate number (16 digit number where the first five digits are the institution code, the sixth is the degree level [ e.g. doctor is 2, master’s is 3, bachelor’s is 4], digits seven to ten are the degree year [e.g. 2016], and the last six digits are unique to the certificate holder)
• Signature of chairman of degree-granting institution
2. Some institutions have published the templates of their degrees but many have not published them yet are still having open voting from February-March 2016.
a. Sample Degree Templates from Capital University of Economics and Business:
Capital University of Economics and Business
b. Sample Degree Templates from Zhejiang University (http://www.zju.edu.cn/c1429839/content_2843290.html )
I. Bachelor Degree
3. Photos on diplomas must be in color (it’s mandated).
4. Even if an institution issued a degree certificate in English, it is essential that the Chinese version as issued by the institution be provided.
5. The recent changes don’t change the dual qualification framework where we still need to see the Degree Certificate and Graduation Certificate.
Alan Saidi Senior Vice-President & COO
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.
In a recent article in The Boston Globe the spotlight was back on China and the “wave of admissions fraud striking U.S. schools.” The issue of fraudulent transcripts from China is not new to those of us involved in the evaluation of international academic credentials. I still remember one of my colleagues, a senior evaluator at ACEI, who had traveled to Beijing several years ago and had first hand eye witness experience with fraud. She had visited a bookstore in Beijing and when she used its back door to exist into the alley she had come face to face with a vendor who had on display a wide range of blank diplomas and transcripts bearing the names of known Chinese universities. For a fee, a person could purchase a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or a Doctorate, in a major of their choosing from Beijing University or Shanghai University and present said document to prospective employer or unsuspecting college admissions officer overseas. I can still hear how flabbergasted my colleague was from the tone of her email. She couldn’t believe her eyes that this was happening in public and in broad daylight.
When it comes to college admission, falsifications of documents from China covers everything that plays a part in the U.S. institution’s decision process, starting with paying someone else to complete the application and essay, to fraudulent letters of recommendation, financial statements, passports, SAT and English language proficiency test scores, to academic transcripts and diplomas/degrees. It is, therefore, unfortunate and an occupational hazard but we cannot not speak of Chinese educational credentials without having our dander up and be suspicious of their authenticity.
When it comes to academic documents, especially those from China, it is more of a case of guilty before proven innocent. At the moment, the one approach most of us involved in credential evaluations, at least those of us who work for companies that are approved and endorsed by the Association of International Credential Evaluators, require our Chinese students to first have their academic documents verified by either one of the following 2 non-governmental Ministry of Education designated entities in China: China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) and China Higher Education Students Information and Career Center (CHESICC). This step in our evaluation process has proven very effective. (Just to be sure, in case you’re wondering, we don’t receive any fees or royalties from these entities.) Those students who have nothing to hide, contact either one of these entities, depending on the type of verification required and request to have their verified academic documents sent directly to our company. And then there are those who put up a big fuss, claiming it to be an inconvenience and costly (yes, the CDGDC and CHESICC do charge the student a fee for the verification). The bigger fuss they make, the more insistent we are in the verification. If there is no problem with their documents, then obtaining the verification should be a piece of cake.
We recently had an applicant from China who submitted photocopies (not original or official) of his academic transcripts and refused to go through the CDGDC for the verification. As a rule, we do not accept just photocopies of academic documents for evaluation from anyone and anywhere. This individual was incredulous and did not want to have his documents verified and even accused us of being ‘unethical,’ which is an interesting twist on using reverse psychology to win a point.
According to the article in The Boston Globe: “Justice Department officials (in the U.S.) in May (2015) charged 15 Chinese, including a Northeastern University student, in a testing scheme in which some students paid others as much as $6,000 each to take their SAT and English proficiency tests. Students in China ordered fake passports and sent them to co-conspirators in Pennsylvania, who took their exams.” The article continues: “More than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities in 2014, according to a report by WholeRen Education, a Pittsburg-based education consultancy). Around 80 percent of the cases involved poor grades or cheating.”
Bottom line is, given that the U.S. continues to be the preferred destination for Chinese students for study, cheating on their U.S. college applications and transcripts will prevail. U.S. schools need not be blinded by full-paying international students, especially from China to boost their budgets. If all U.S. schools implement a strict verification policy, they not only benefit from capitalizing on the international student but also enjoy the peace of mind that their admission decision was based on bona fide and legitimate documents.
The Frustrated Evaluator
When I realized that I won “Many Languages, One World” essay contest and that I’m going to New York, I was really excited. I packed all my nicest shirts, pants, and shoes hoping that I would look my best on this once in a life time trip! As soon as I got down from the plane at the New York airport, of course we took pictures and posted to our various social media since we were really happy! However my happiness didn’t last for long, 10 minutes later I realized that the airline lost my luggage. I had nothing with me apart from my passport and a selfie stick. My money, my clothes, my speech were all lost. “This is going to be the worst trip ever”, that’s all I could think of.
As soon as I got to Adelphi University, I started making friends with people from so many different countries. They came to know about my “losing luggage” story. Each of them agreed and decided to lend me a different thing. For example, Jefferson, my friend from Brazil, lent me his pants every day! Eric, my friend from Uruguay, lent me his socks every day! Alline my friend from Mexico lent me her hair dryer every day! And of course so much more people lent me their stuff. My “losing luggage” story wasn’t becoming that depressing anymore, in fact I’m glad that it brought me to get to know so many friends and to be able to quickly become so close to each of them.
For the first 3 days, we were so busy with meetings and we needed to separate into our language groups so that we can prepare our speech at the UN. Our Chinese group topic was focusing on developing a healthy life at all ages. Everybody did a really great job there at the UN which was held on July 24th, 2015. We all needed to give a speech for no more than 2 minutes. Personally, I think everybody did so great and I’m so happy for all of them.
After the speech, we all went to the New York Times Square and had dinner at a beautiful restaurant: Hard Rock Café. As for the next day, we went to the 9/11 Memorial Park, then had a wonderful boat ride to have a look at New York’s beautiful scenery, the Statue of Liberty, and so much more. After the boat ride, we went to the American Museum of Natural History. We came back to the Adelphi University around 6:00 that evening, all of us then went to our own individual’s room to get ready for our last dinner together.
At our last dinner together, Mr. Mark W. Harris, the President of ELS, gave us a wonderful speech and awarded each one of us a certificate. Mr. Harris is such an inspiring person, his speech made all of us realize that from now on we all have a responsibility to make this world a better place. We are now brothers and sisters and we will always have each other no matter where life takes us. As I looked at my friends at the dinner table, I can feel how 6 days totally makes a difference, now it is so hard and painful for all of us to say good bye. Thank you ELS group people who were so amazing and gave us this wonderful experience. Every single memory of this trip will never be forgotten. I am so lucky to be able to meet and become your friends. Every single one of you will always be in my heart, missing you so much my friends.
PS. I found my luggage! Yay! I can lose my luggage a hundred more times, but can never lose those beautiful memories I had with you beautiful people.
Siwathep (Thep) Singh Khaderpor
Thep is an international student from Thailand who was visiting the U.S. this summer as one of the winners of the “Many Languages, One World” and it’s UNAI (United National Academic Impact)” essay contest sponsored by ELS Language Centers. He is currently a student at Jiangsu University in China where he is studying Medicine. Thep says his professional goal is to “become a heart surgeon to fulfill my love of the sciences and medicine, and to help my fellow human beings. Furthermore, I hope to volunteer my skills to provide heart care to those in need regardless of race and economic status.”
May 29th, 2014
On May 20, 2014, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, President & CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI) and Sid Krommenhoek, Founder of Zinch, presented a webinar hosted by CGACC on China and the challenges Chinese students pose for U.S. colleges and universities.
According to the 2013 Educational Exchange Data from the Institute for International Education (IIE) Open Doors, in the 2012/13 academic year, 235,597 students from China were studying in the United States; a 21% increases from the previous year. China remains the leading place of origin for students coming to the U.S.
The reasons for this boost in numbers can be linked to China’s growing middle-class affluence, especially when concentrated on a single child and the country’s higher education system not being able to meet the demands of its people. We can also attribute this upsurge to budget cuts at U.S. universities giving rise to the need for institutions to increase reviewed by recruiting abroad and the easing of the stringent student-vise policies that were implement immediately after 9/11.
It is difficult to predict if the huge percentage increases we’ve witnessed in Chinese undergraduate enrollment will continue but at least in the short-term China continues to represent the largest market of undergraduate international students heading to the U.S. One of the single biggest problems concerning Chinese students is the prevalence of document fraud in the application and evaluation process and the uncertainty of the quality of their prior education.
In the webinar, Sid Krommenhoek spoke extensively about China’s state-run education system being overrun by bribery and cronyism. It’s not unusual for parents to bribe school officials to get their children into elite schools, retain agents who will falsify recommendation letters, financial statements, academic transcripts and other documents needed to satisfy admission requirements to a U.S. college or university. Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert offered helpful tips for admissions counselors and credential evaluators to consider when dealing with transcripts and degrees from China.
The audio and presentation slides of this webinar which Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert of ACEI and Sid Krommenhoek attended are available for free at this link:
Cooperative Agreement between CDGDC and ACEI
April 18, 2013
According to a recent IIE Open Door report “International Student enrollment increased by 5% in 2010/11, led by strong increase in students from China.” The report cites a 23% increase in the number of Chinese students of which 43% are studying at the undergraduate level.
According to the US Department of Commerce, international student contributes more than $21 billion to the US economy, through their expenditures on tuition, living expenses such as room and board, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance and covering the financial cost of their accompanying family members.
In the same breath, a 2010 report published by Zinch states that in China “the cultural norm is that there is no harm in creating false documents.” As credential evaluation professionals, we recognize the importance of supporting the U.S. position as the number one destination for international students and are always striving to find ways we can help bolster and improve our service to complement the needs of the U.S. institutions requiring international transcript evaluations. We are also cognizant that doing our due diligence by ensuring the legitimacy of documents is, first and foremost, an integral component of evaluating academic credentials.
One step we have taken to address the growing number of Chinese student applications for college/university admission and even professional licensing is through our cooperation with the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) in Beijing. CDGDC is the legal entity, authorized by the government in China that provides verification of degrees, certificates, diplomas and other related educational document conferred by Chinese colleges and universities as well as secondary credentials.
I had the good fortune of being introduced to the CDGDC Director, Mr. Wang, through our contact Mr. Chenguan (Alex) Lu with EducationUSA in Beijing. Through this introduction, I was able to secure a meeting in San Francisco on April 14, 2013 with Mr. Wang and a delegation from CDGDC where we signed the Cooperative Agreement between our two organizations to carry out comparative studies of Sino-U.S. degrees and other educational credentials through verification and evaluation.
For the past two years, ACEI has been referring its Chinese students seeking an evaluation of their academic credentials to the CDGDC for document verification. By signing the Cooperative Agreement, ACEI will continue to use CGDCD’s educational credential verification services in its educational evaluation work. Chinese applicants are advised to contact the CDGDC and request the verification of their academic transcripts, certificates, diplomas and/or degrees. CDGDC in turn submits its verification directly to ACEI certifying the legitimacy of the academic documents. The verification of academic documents from China will further ensure that the evaluations prepared by ACEI are based on educational documents that have been properly vetted by a legal entity.
We can continue to be the number one destination for international students and we can do so without loosening our requirements and lowering our standards.
Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI