Chinese students paying to get into U.S. high schools

Nov 7, 2013 by

Underpopulated high schools across the country are taking tuition-paying foreign students, especially from China, where newly prosperous families are eager to educate their children in the West.

LOS ANGELES — Yosemite High School once offered six wood-shop classes. Now there are three.

Things got worse when a new high school opened in a neighboring district and many students transferred. Campus enrollment is down from 1,100 five years ago to about 700 today.

School officials are now looking to a faraway place for salvation. As soon as next fall, Yosemite High could welcome 25 students from China who would pay $10,000 or more in tuition to enjoy an American public education amid mountain scenery. They would boost revenue and inject an international flavor into a school with few immigrant families.

Two tuition-paying Chinese students are at Yosemite High, in Oakhurst, Calif., this year. Xiao “Travis” Ma, of Inner Mongolia, plays clarinet in the marching band, and Chengyu “Johnny” Zhang, of Shanghai, runs on the cross-country team. Though the local Chinese food is not to their liking, they appreciate the clean air and elbow room.

“Having students who pay tuition helps keep some of our programs more full,” said Stephanie Samuels, a guidance counselor and international coordinator at Yosemite High. “We don’t have a lot of exposure to other cultures. Our students benefit not only from the academic challenge but from meeting people from other parts of the world.”

In looking abroad to fill seats, Yosemite is following the lead of underpopulated high schools in Maine and upstate New York, among other places. The number of tuition-paying foreign students in U.S. public high schools has jumped from a few hundred nationwide in 2007 to nearly 3,000 last year, according to federal statistics obtained by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel.

via Chinese students paying to get into U.S. high schools | Nation & World | The Seattle Times.

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