Since Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese students, complaints have risen that China’s Cross-strait Student Recruitment Center has made more money than Taiwanese schools and travel agencies.
A total of 933 Chinese students were accepted by Taiwanese universities last year, according to college administrators. School admission fees totaled about NT$7 million (US$237,000), with the Chinese Cross-strait Student Recruitment Center taking in NT$2.6 million for providing certified transcripts of records and other service fees.
To allay concern that allowing Chinese students into Taiwanese universities might affect educational and job opportunities for local students and graduates, the Ministry of Education has imposed restrictions on Chinese enrollment, known as the “three limits, six noes” policy.
Under the policy, acceptance is limited to Chinese students from prestigious Chinese schools, the number of Chinese students is restricted to 0.1 percent of total domestic student recruitment and Chinese students are barred from courses in pharmacy, Chinese and Western medicine, high-tech and national security.
As for the six noes, they refer to no entrance examinations for Chinese students, ensuring that their enrolment would not impact on local student recruitment, no scholarships, no off-campus work for Chinese students, and they cannot join tests for Republic of China professional certifications or civil servant examinations.
Some universities have expressed dissatisfaction over the Chinese center making so much money, while the universities themselves have not benefited and had to cover the recruitment costs themselves.
The universities say they lose thousands of New Taiwan dollars for every Chinese student who is recruited.
Chang Hong-de (張鴻德), secretary-general of University Entrance Committee for Mainland Chinese Students, said that 1,700 Chinese students had applied for university entrance and another 700 for graduate school. The center charged NT$350 for each university application, NT$1,350 for graduate school and NT$2,450 for doctorates.
Asked why Taiwanese universities were not able to get any money from student recruitment, Chang said China’s city and provincial governments take charge of collecting diplomas and transcript of records, while the Cross-strait Student Recruitment Center charges a one-time fee of 500,000 yuan (US$79,200).
After negotiations, the committee and the center settled on the figure of NT$2.6 million, or one-third of the total admission fees, Chang said.
With the rest of the funds being spent on the committee’s daily operations, the committee told the universities that they would not be alloted any money to cover processing fees for Chinese students, Chang said.
The universities have complained that their budget for recruitment of Chinese students was in the red because they have to pay out of their own pockets for professors to review the students’ applications.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said the issue showed glaring deficiencies in cross-strait collaboration, adding that Beijing’s ban on direct recruitment of Chinese students by Taiwanese universities had only benefited the center.
A large part of the fees go into verifying documents and doing education background checks, because of fears in Taiwan that some Chinese diplomas might be fake, Department of Higher Education director Ho Cho-fei (何卓飛) said.