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 U.S.-China 100,000 Strong Initiative 

AACC received a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for support from AACC and its member colleges to help "realize President Obama's goal of dramatically increasing the number of American students studying in China." Specifically, U.S. higher education institutions have been challenged to "[d]ouble the number of your students who study in China by 2014."

This 100,000 Strong Initiative is a national effort designed, not only to increase dramatically the number, but also to "diversify the composition, of American students studying in China." The bulletin attached to the letter states that "10 times more Chinese students come to the United States for educational programs than Americans who study in China, and 600 times more Chinese study the English language than Americans study Mandarin." As stated in the bulletin, "[r]edressing this imbalance in knowledge is essential to ensuring that Americans have the cultural understanding and language skills that underpin effective diplomacy and foreign policy."

AACC supports this effort and encourages our member colleges to step up to the challenge.

Funds to help your college participate in reaching this national goal

Funds Available in the United States

  • Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA), a privately funded scholarship program, accepts applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying at the undergraduate level at a two-year or four-year college or university who demonstrate financial need. Awards (from $3,000 to $7,000) are restricted to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.
  • Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) to support U.S. undergraduate students who study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Awards provide up to $20,000 to students, who are required to study for at least an academic semester.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a congressionally funded program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State that offers scholarships for students with financial need who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad.
  • Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) for Intensive Summer Institutes, a program of United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages.

Funds Available in China

  • Bridge Scholarships are funded by the Chinese government. Ten thousand scholarships have been committed specifically for U.S. students to study in China.
  • Other Chinese Government Scholarships have been established by the Chinese Ministry of Education to provide both full and partial scholarships to international students, teachers and scholars in undergraduate and postgraduate programs, Chinese language training programs, general scholar and senior scholar programs. Applicants should apply through dispatching authorities, institutions, or the Chinese diplomatic missions.

Other resources

  • AACC Annual Trip to China leads a delegation of community college presidents and senior administrators to China for an international education conference and trips to several vocational institutions in the Beijing area. Numerous partnerships and MOUs for exchange of students and faculty have resulted.
  • AACC Vocational Education Leadership Training (VELT) Program brings a large delegation of presidents from Chinese vocational institutions to the campuses of U.S. community colleges for cultural exchange and to learn how U.S. institutions rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of local business and industry.
  • AACC Newsletter for International Administrators provides information on Fulbright and other study abroad/professional development funding opportunities as well as information about USAID and other federal grant competitions, news articles and publications, and other information and resources that are useful to international administrators at U.S. community colleges.
  • EducationUSA in China is a great in-country resource for information on both Chinese students and the Chinese education system.
  • Zinch China White Paper Series on the NAFSA website provides important, key information on understanding and developing effective recruitment strategies in China.

Related news articles of interest

Bridging the gap between cultures, July 22, 2011, China Daily, reports that learning Chinese and other foreign languages helps students expand their horizons and helps prepare the next generation of American experts that will be charged with managing the growing political, economic and cultural ties between the U.S. and its trading partners and allies.
For more information 

Thinking Right: Coaching a Wave of Chinese Students for College in America, July 19, 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education, explores what it means both for China and for the United States now that nearly 130,000 Chinese students are studying at U.S. colleges and universities, in particular the impacts on China's secondary education system and the ability of the United States to cope with an influx of Chinese students.
For more information

CHINA: Ambitious plans to attract foreign students, March 13, 2011, University World News, reports that the Chinese Ministry of Education has announced an ambitious plan to increase in the number of foreign students studying in the country, creating an innovation economy and turning itself into an education 'hub'.
For more information

China sends more students abroad, absorbs record high, March 3, 2011, People’s Daily Online, reports that the Chinese Ministry of Education recently released data stating that in 2010, up to 284,700 Chinese students went abroad to study, 134,800 students returned from abroad, and the number of foreign students studying in China rose to 265,090 (of which 22,390 received Chinese government scholarships).
For more information

Colleges urged to take advantage of study abroad, February 18, 2011, Community College Times, reports on the recent Department of State briefing for community colleges on the 100,000 Strong Initiative with China as well as the U.S. Departments of Education and State’s efforts to increase the number of community college students taking advantage of a wealth of study abroad opportunities.
For more information

Canberra drops ball over Beijing , February 11, 2011, The Australian, reports that concerns are growing in Australia that, not only is there a decline in students from India, a decline in students from China may indicate further deterioration in Australia’s already shaky relationship with China.
For more information

Recruiting in China Pays Off for U.S. Colleges, February 11, 2011, New York Times, reports that while some have been successful in marketing their colleges in China, with success comes the struggle to keep up with the huge number of Chinese student applications that often result.
For more information

We Need a National Effort to Send More Students to China, February 6, 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that, in the face of insufficient funding from private sources, the U.S. needs to tap tuition revenue from foreign students who come to American campuses in order to fund U.S. students’ study abroad.
For more information

Students chase China dream, January 21, 2011,, reports that First Lady Michelle Obama announced the availability of more than $2.25 million in private sector pledges to support the increase of the number and diversity of US students studying in China.
For more information

First Lady urges more American students to study in China, January 20, 2011,, reports that First Lady Michelle Obama has encouraged more American students to study in China in a bid to build better ties between the two countries.
For more information

As White House Pushes Study Abroad in China, Educators Question the Logistics, January 19, 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education, reports that, without government support or sufficient private money, colleges wonder how they can afford to double the number of Americans studying in China by 2014.
For more information

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