North Dakota’s Chinese Diploma Mill

Dickinson State University, in North Dakota, was apparently having trouble encouraging high school students to apply. And so, eager for the money, Dickinson State decided it needed a new pipeline of students.

So it decided to enroll a lot of Chinese kids. Just enroll them, however. The college didn’t actually seem to fully educate such students. According to an Associated Press article:

As an audit made public Friday revealed, lax recordkeeping and oversight resulted in hundreds of degrees being awarded to students who didn’t finish their course work. Others enrolled who couldn’t speak English or hadn’t achieved the “C” average normally required for admission.

The report depicts Dickinson State as a diploma mill for foreign students, most of whom were Chinese. Of 410 foreign students who have received four-year degrees since 2003 — most of them in the past four years — 400 did not fulfill all the graduation requirements, it said.

According to the article, the way the program was supposed to work was that Chinese students would begin classes in China, spend a year at Dickinson, and then go back to China to earn their diplomas. What actually seems to have happened in most cases, however, was the school didn’t receive transcripts from Chinese universities but then awarded them Dickinson diplomas. So students got bachelor’s degrees from Dickinson State after a year’s work.

At a news conference on Friday, the school’s new president, D.C. Coston, said that Dickinson “stands ready to work with them individually to figure out what might be necessary for them to reach a point of completion.” He did not indicate what the school plans to do in the future to enroll sufficient students. The Chinese scam, however, will now end.

The administrator in charge of running the China program, Jon Brudvig, resigned last week.

Read the audit here.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer