The huge massive cheating scandal (dubbed Varsity Blues) involving celebrities and millionaires bribing coaches and paying people to take admission exams for their children to get them into elite colleges (including a payment of $6.5 million by a Chinese family to get their daughter into Stanford) is still unfolding. Yet another cheating scandal at UCLA involving Chinese nationals and a ring of cheaters has gone virtually unnoticed. While there is no wrongdoing attributed to UCLA, widespread cheating to get admitted further undermines the credibility of the college admission process.

An April 26, 2019 article in Los Angeles Magazine ( reports the arrest of a recent UCLA graduate, a Chinese national named Liu Cai. “According to prosecutors, Cai, along with four current and former UCLA students and another student at Cal State Fullerton, helped at least 40 Chinese nationals obtain student visas by fraudulently taking the TOEFL, an English proficiency exam, on their behalf. Cai’s ringers would show up to testing sites with fake Chinese passports bearing their own photos but with the names of the clients. Where Cai slipped—and where investigators caught up to him—was charging 39 test registration payments to his credit card.”

The problem may extend well beyond UCLA and well beyond the English proficiency exam. According to the article, ” a survey of 14 public universities by The Wall Street Journal found that in the 2014-15 school year, those universities reported cheating among international students at a rate five times higher than among domestic students. In 2018 a professor at UC Santa Barbara told the Los Angeles Times that Chinese students comprise 6 percent of the student body but account for a third of plagiarism cases.”

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