Ivy League schools are notoriously elitist, but some of China’s poorest students will have an unprecedented chance to partake in that top notch education, thanks in part to a pair of generous Beijing philanthropists.
According to a recent Daily Mail article, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, a couple who made their millions developing real estate such as the Soho properties in Beijing, have donated $100 million to America’s top schools in 2014. Ten million dollars of that offering will go to Yale and $15 million of it will be given to Harvard, in order to help cover costs for economically marginalized Chinese students that would normally be shut out from such upper echelons.
On top of that, the American State Department’s EducationUSA program has been equally generous to prospective international students as of late, launching funds worth millions of dollars that cover everything from application fees to interview transpiration costs. The Mail article added that EducationUSA already has eight advisers in Beijing, with plans to send four more to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang latter this year.
The article went on to describe these initiatives as “refocused recruitment strategies” that offer the university system more “economic diversity.” It then delved into a compelling anecdote about one student, Yupei Guo, who came from the sort of average background that could never have granted her such opportunities prior to these new initiatives. Her story is surely one of the many that point to a brighter future for such long deprived Chinese youngsters.
That, of course, doesn’t mean that the PRC hasn’t made its own efforts to address such students’ needs. An essay published in Forbes last November pointed out that China has doubled its total number of universities in the past decade. Meanwhile, its number of post secondary grads in that same timeframe has had a staggering quadruple increase to seven million, dwarfing America’s total of three million.
However, the Forbes author also wrote that: “With few spots available at top schools, Chinese students increasingly are heading to America for higher education… They worry about finding good jobs and are irritated by government restrictions on their freedom. For many the U.S. offers the yellow brick road to the fabled Emerald City. This educational exodus benefits Americans as well as Chinese.”
A recent Bloomberg article crunched the numbers of this massive post secondary migration. It noted that there has been a whopping 75 percent increase in the number of Chinese students enrolling at American universities. It added that: “Students from China made up the largest contingent among the 886,052 foreign students last year, with 31 percent…”
Those figures are sure to only increase, now that the aforementioned “refocused recruitment strategies” are in full swing and average, highly deserving students like Guo are taking advantage of them.