Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

A Prediction of the Trends in the “Study-Abroad” Wave: Analysis of International Students from China


Tingyu Chen, Di He


Mark B. McNeil, Professor of Social and Behavioral Science, Irvine Valley College

A “study-abroad” wave of Chinese students in the recent decade has benefited not only the students, but also China and those countries to which they flock. However, taking the wave of Chinese students studying in the U.S as an example, this study analyzes the duration of the trend, hypothesizing that the wave is likely to decline within the next ten years. The study first shows the collapses among the Chinese companies who pave the way for these international students. Secondly, the cost of attending a college in U.S. is rising relative to the benefits that a student can expect from a U.S degree. The Associated Press reported a 15% increase in college tuition prices from 2008 and 2010, which includes nonresident student fees and is faster than the general U.S. price level. Chinese students are currently paying $70,000 to $100,000/year for their educational life in the U.S. while elite Chinese universities are emerging and provide similar prestige and job prospects. These cost only about $3000/year. Finally, a 7.8% unemployment rate from the diminished employment in the U.S also deters Chinese students from choosing U.S. universities. Meanwhile, other western countries are competing with the U.S for the source of students. Chinese students have alternatives that include degrees from institutions in Australia and Ireland, where the degrees are less costly by roughly 20%. It is likely that the marginal cost is going to exceed the marginal benefit of studying in U.S. Thus, while the net benefits of a U.S. degree are decreasing, the future improvements of the educational system and the labor market in China will be more beneficial than the cost of studying abroad. It can be predicted that in the next decade, the demand of studying abroad will decline sharply after a period of continuing rise in the late 2010s.

Presented by:

Tingyu Chen, Di He


Saturday, November 17, 2012


2:30 PM — 2:45 PM


Bell Tower 2688

Presentation Type:

Oral Presentation