30 Suspected Of Test Fraud At U-Iowa

The University of Iowa suspects at least 30 Chinese students of having used ringers to take exams. File photo

The University of Iowa suspects at least 30 Chinese students of having used ringers to take exams. File photo

A Reuters report released today (May 25) details an underground cheating industry for foreign students, and how at least 30 Chinese students at the University of Iowa — and possibly many more — are suspected of having used ringers to take exams.

The article describes how advertisements for test-taking and paper-writing services target hundreds of thousands of Chinese students in the U.S. struggling with the English language and living so far from home. Services offered by the China-based companies also include help with the college application process, the report states.

At the University of Iowa, the students are being investigated for cheating in online versions of at least three courses, including law and economics. Though the university, citing academic privacy laws, would not confirm details of those suspected, most or all of those under investigation are believed to be Chinese nationals.


The students paid about $1,000 a course, according to the report.

“The Iowa cheating rings are the latest evidence of how a vibrant East Asian industry is corrupting the U.S. higher education system by gaming entrance exams, concocting college applications and completing college coursework on behalf of students,” Reuters reporters Koh Gui Qing, Alexandra Harney, Steve Stecklow and James Pomfret write.

“These nimble operators not only help students cheat their way into universities. They also help them cheat their way through.”


Chinese nationals made up 9% of the student body at the University of Iowa in 2015, or 2,797 students.

According to the Institute of International Education, about 761,000 degree-seeking foreign students currently study in the U.S., with a third of those coming from China.

Three of the 30 Iowa students under suspicion — sources familiar with the university’s investigation said the actual number may be two or three times higher — admitted to Reuters that they used the companies based in China, including UI International Student Services and Transcend, to take online exams for them.

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