Last week, the North Dakota University System released an internal audit showing that Dickinson State University for years has awarded hundreds of diplomas to foreign students who did not earn them. (Associated Press, Feb. 10, 2012) It also revealed that the University enrolled students who did not speak English and enrolled others who did not have qualifying grades.
The audit examined foreign students who participated in a program that allowed them to earn degrees both from Dickinson State and a university in their home country. Of the 410 students who received degrees, 400 did not have records of completing the required coursework. In addition, of the University’s 127 agreements with international schools to grant degrees to their students, only four had the required details to be recognized as valid. Other findings included evidence that the University admitted students who were not proficient in English or who had falsified transcripts.
About 95 percent of the students in the Dickinson State University program were Chinese, reflecting the growing enrollment of Chinese students nationwide. In fact, China sends more students to the United States than any other country, lured by universities that charge them full tuition. (See Associated Press, Feb. 11, 2012) During the 2010-11 academic year, 157,558 Chinese students were studying in the U.S., an increase of almost 24 percent from the previous year. The number of Chinese students in the United States has risen by at least 19.8 percent for each of the past four years. (Associated Press, Feb. 10, 2012)
At a press conference Friday, Dickinson State University President D.C. Coston said the University will take corrective action, including possible termination of the international student programs. (The Dickinson Press, Feb. 11, 2012) The University has already given notice to two student recruiting organizations that the school will no longer work with them and is still evaluating which University employees were involved in violating official policies. As for the foreign students, Coston said the University would be contacting them. “We will be telling (the affected students) that their records do not indicate they sufficiently completed the requirements,” Coston said. “Dickinson State stands ready to work with them individually to figure out what might be necessary for them to reach a point of completion.” (Associated Press, Feb. 11, 2012)