Pittsburgh authorities indict 15 Chinese in college test-taking scheme

There’s really not much I can say about this. That cheating on college entrance exams has been going for a while is a long known fact. What amazes me is that it’s taken this long for the authorities to find out that this is happening. Very disturbing are the charges that students did not only cheat on getting into a university, but that “they were also cheating their way through our nation’s immigration system.” 
-Andreas Kristinus

President, EduGate
testing Prosecutors aren’t saying how many students benefited from the alleged college test-taking scheme.

By Torsten Ove / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A group of 15 Chinese nationals in the U.S. and China schemed to have impostors take college entrance exams by using fake passports for identification in the hopes of obtaining student visas for entry to U.S. universities, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the defendants, including two living in Pittsburgh, defrauded Educational Testing Services and the College Board, which administer standardized tests, between 2011 and 2015 by either taking the tests for others or paying others to take the tests for them.

Prosecutors said some of the conspirators had counterfeit Chinese passports made in China and sent to the U.S., where they were used by the impostors to fool administrators into thinking they were other people before taking exams conducted in Pittsburgh and its suburbs.

The conspirators received the benefit of the impostors’ test scores on the SAT and other exams for use at American colleges, one of which is identified in the indictment as Northeastern University in Boston.

The 35-count indictment, handed up May 21 and unsealed Thursday, identifies some of the defendants as students who paid up to $6,000 for others in the U.S. to pretend to be them in taking tests, such as the SAT, at Barack Obama Academy, another testing site in Monroeville and elsewhere.

Five of the defendants are identified as test-takers, including the lead defendant, Han Tong, 24, of Pittsburgh.

Another local defendant was identified as Gong Zhang, 23, who prosecutors said received a fake passport at his address on North Craig Street in Oakland from an unidentified conspirator in China on April 1, 2013, and then used it in posing as someone else that day in taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Prosecutors would not say how many students were able to get into American schools through the scheme but said the investigation is continuing.

“These students were not only cheating their way into the university, they were also cheating their way through our nation’s immigration system,” said John Kelleghan, agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia, one of the investigating agencies.

It wasn’t clear how the scheme was discovered, but U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Educational Testing Services, based in New Jersey, and the New York-based College Board have cooperated with investigators.

One example of how the scheme typically worked involved Han Tong and Siyuan Zhao, 24, of Massachusetts.

On March 9, 2012, a conspirator accessed Mr. Zhao’s ETS online account and, using Han Tong’s credit card, bought a test to be taken in Mr. Zhao’s name at a Monroeville testing site using a fake passport.

The impostor took the test, prosecutors said, and on March 19 Mr. Zhao accessed the score and had it sent electronically to Northeastern University.

Mr. Zhao was arrested Thursday in Boston and was scheduled to appear in federal court there for a hearing in which prosecutors said they would seek his detention and have him brought to Pittsburgh for trial.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said Mr. Tong and 10 others will be issued summonses to appear in U.S. District Court to face the charges.

The names of three others, all in China, remained sealed.

These are the other named defendants: Biyuan Li, 25, of Boston; Jia Song, 20, of Santa Ana, Calif.; Ning Wei, 24, of China; Songling Peng, 19, of Watertown, Wis.; Xi Fu, 26, of Portland, Ore.; Xiaojin Guo, 20, of China; Yudong Zhang, 21, of Blacksburg, Va.; Yue Zou, 20, of Blacksburg, Va.; and Yunlin Sun, 24, of Berlin, Pa., and Pittsburgh.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.

Which college graduates earn the most money right out of school?

Yes, the starting salaries are higher in the health sector but how will they compete with law further down the road..?

-Andreas Kristinus

President, EduGate LLC

 Niall McCarthy Contributor

The College Majors With The Highest Starting Salaries [Infographic]

Which college graduates earn the most money right out of school? If you want to earn serious cash in your first job, you should study architecture or engineering. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed Census Bureau data to determine which college majors earn the most money right after graduation.

Architecture and engineering came out on top by a considerable distance – students in these fields tend to make $50,000 a year in their first job after college, more than any other group of majors. Right out of school, someone majoring in computers, statistics and mathematics can expect to earn an impressive $43,000 in their first working year. Health majors round off the top three with a starting salary of $41,000.

College Majors: The Highest Starting Wages

Tennessee high school senior gets into all 8 Ivy League schools — and turns them down for the University of Alabama

Aside from the fact that this student seems to be rather bright, academically, I find it more heartening and impressive that he decided against the Ivy’s because of the almost ensured debt he will be taking on over the years. Yes, to graduate from an Ivy league school is prestigious but ultimately, it is the students that are left with a huge debt to start of their careers. Nelson showed that he is not only academically responsible. Hats off to him and good luck.
-Andreas Kristinus
President, EduGate LLC
Monday, May 18, 2015, 12:39 PM

Ronald Nelson, a Tennessee high school student who got into all eight Ivy league, will attend the public University of Alabama this fall.

A Tennessee genius teen got into all eight Ivy League schools — but he’ll root for the Crimson Tide this fall.

Memphis-area high school senior Ronald Nelson announced he’ll attend the University of Alabama, meaning he is rejecting offers from the eight Ivies plus a handful of other competitive, private schools.

Nelson said a generous full-ride scholarship convinced him to enroll at the public school.

He’ll use the money he’s saving on his undergrad degree on medical school, he told Business Insider.

Nelson — who will graduate from Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., on Tuesday with a 4.58 GPA — said he received financial aid packages from many schools.

Still, he was unsure if he could manage the cost of a pricey private degree. His older sister is due to grade from college next spring, meaning he’d likely receive less financial aid after that since his parents would only be supporting one college kid.

Nelson said he decided on Alabama for its financial aid package and its elite honors college. Butch Dill/AP

Nelson said he decided on Alabama for its financial aid package and its elite honors college.

“(The private schools) told me that I would probably end up paying quite a bit more over the next three years,” he said.

So the senior class president and award-wining saxophone player turned down the Ivy offers.

He also rejected bids from Stanford, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Vanderbilt, and Washington University in St. Louis.

While he was at first hesitant about turning down so many high-profile schools, Nelson said Alabama’s selective honors college helped persuade him the public university was the right choice.

“It was kind of amazing being around so many like-minded students, which is why I think I’ll be able to have a similar situation (to an Ivy League school), considering the type of students they’re attracting,” he said.

Nelson, who earned a 34 out of 36 on his ACT and a 2260 out of 2400 on the SAT, plans to attend medical school and become a doctor after he finishes undergrad.

“With people being in debt for years and years, it wasn’t a burden that Ronald wanted to take on and it wasn’t a burden that we wanted to deal with for a number of years after undergraduate,” the teen’s dad, Ronald Sr., said of his son’s savvy college decision. “We can put that money away and spend it on his medical school, or any other graduate school.”

Nelson said he’s certain he’ll get into a top medical school so long as he works hard enough.

“The Ivy League experience would certainly be something amazing, to make these connections, and have these amazing professors,” he said. “But I really do think I’ll be able to make the same experience for myself at the college I chose.”