Dickinson State - Alleged Diploma Mill for Chinese
Facing pressure to bring in more students as North Dakota’s booming oil industry made it tougher to coax new high school graduates into college, Dickinson State University began looking overseas to boost its enrollment.
China, which sends more students to U.S. universities than any other nation, became one of the school’s more reliable suppliers of young people.
But as an audit made public Friday revealed, lax record-keeping 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.
The report raises questions about whether public universities, strapped for cash at a time of sharply declining state support for higher education, are cutting corners to attract foreign students who typically pay full out-of-state tuition.
Dickinson State could face penalties from the State Department for violations of the federal student visa program, as well as sanctions from the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security and the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago, an accreditation agency, the report said.