Thursday, January 3, 2008

Top Universities Recruiting Wealthy Foreigners While Denying American Applicants

Last year, Harvard University received approximately $514 million in Federal research grant money. It receives tens of millions more annually in Federal financial aid for its students.

In the 2006-2007 admissions cycle, Harvard admitted a mere 9% of its applicants. While numbers are not in yet for this year, some of its peers have reported a significant increase in both the quality and quantity of applications. Newsweek has an article this week about how competitive college admissions have become in recent years.

Imagine my surprise, then, to read the following:

"The most selective institutions have begun to aggressively recruit applicants from China, Korea, India and South America."

There aren't enough qualified Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Indian-Americans, etc. from which to select? I find that hard to believe given all the controversy surrounding alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions. My youngest brother has a good friend who is Chinese-American and who got rejected from Harvard despite a stellar application.

I've heard of so many similar stories, including the case of Jian Li who filed a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights against Princeton University in 2006. Li scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT and 2390 out of a possible 2400 on the achievement tests in calculus, chemistry, and physics. He also had a near-perfect GPA including numerous Advanced Placement classes, and was president of his school's American Field Service chapter, served as a delegate at Boys' State, and completed a community service project in Costa Rica. In addition to his rejection by Princeton, he was also turned down by Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Penn. How many other Asian-Americans are similarly shut out while these schools are admitting foreign nationals (many of whom will leave the U.S. upon graduation)?

Shouldn't universities heavily subsidized by the U.S. taxpayers give preference to U.S. citizens and legal residents in admissions? Why are they aggressively recruiting foreigners while at the same time rejecting so many hardworking American kids?

1 comment:

Kady said...

The operative word is "wealthy". Foreign applicants are not eligible for financial aid nor grants (except in exceptional circumstances) so they inevitably pay full tuition (and are, therefore, not subsidized). This is in contrast to the situation for American applicants, for whom most universities now evaluate on a "need-blind" admission basis. For the universities, this is an easy way to generate a lot of money.

The exception being graduate students.

Graduate students (particularly in the maths and sciences) are in fact heavily subsidized by private (ie. university) and public sources, even foreign students. But these programs tend to need to draw from a foreign pool because there is a real dearth of qualified U.S. applicants to such programs.