Inkstone
    Apr
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    Apr
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    Student pays imposter to take exam (and defrauds the US)
    Student pays imposter to take exam (and defrauds the US)
    EDUCATION

    Student pays imposter to take exam (and defrauds the US)

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    Many of us would do a lot to get into our dream college.

    But would you pay someone to take your exams for you?

    A Chinese woman has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, after she paid a fellow Chinese student to take a test for her.

    Huang Leyi in her booking photo.
    Huang Leyi in her booking photo. Photo: Erie County

    Huang Leyi had been enrolled at Pennsylvania State University, and was staying in the US on a student visa.

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    On Monday, she pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston, Reuters reported.

    The 21-year-old Huang faced up to five years in prison, but US District Judge Dennis Saylor sentenced her to time served once she agreed to be deported.

    Chinese students celebrate at a Columbia University commencement ceremony.
    Chinese students celebrate at a Columbia University commencement ceremony. Photo: Xinhua/Wang Lei

    A total of 350,755 Chinese students studied in the US in the 2016/2017 academic year, some 35% of all foreign students in the states. That’s up 6.8% on the previous year.

    The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam is used to assess foreign applicants to English-speaking universities, with colleges requiring certain grades to grant admission.

    When she took it herself, Huang didn’t score highly enough to attend Penn State.

    According to court papers, Huang admitted that in March 2016, Huang paid a third party $3,000 to sit the exam in her place.

    The test-taker was Wang Yue, a Chinese student at Hult International Business School in Cambridge. Prosecutors allege that she took the TOEFL for at least two other Chinese women seeking acceptance to US universities.

    The women were granted student visas based on their college places – which prosecutors said defrauded the United States.

    The test-taker and all three students were arrested in May 2017.

    They all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to time served after agreeing to deportation.

    University students study for postgraduate admissions tests at the Hebei University of Engineering, China.
    University students study for postgraduate admissions tests at the Hebei University of Engineering, China.

    This isn’t a one-off case. For example, in 2015, Pittsburgh authorities charged and deported 15 Chinese nationals who had been engaged in a test-taking scheme.

    And in China itself, students pay test-takers known as “hired guns” to take SATs and TOEFL exams – and even the nation’s grueling gaokao college entrance exams.

    Adam White
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    Adam White is a contributor to Inkstone. The Hong Kong­-born-and-raised journalist and editor has written for CNN, Time, Monocle, HK Magazine and the New Statesman.
    Adam White
    arrow rightarrow right
    Adam White is a contributor to Inkstone. The Hong Kong­-born-and-raised journalist and editor has written for CNN, Time, Monocle, HK Magazine and the New Statesman.
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