College Prep Services

University of California, Davis freshmen Guan Wang, right, and Tracy Chen walk to class.Some Americans may be questioning the value of a college degree, but a record number of Chinese nationals are flocking to American universities.

It takes a lot of time, effort and money for them to get there, which has some American firms seeing big opportunities to cash in.

According to the Institute of International Education's 2014 Open Doors report, Chinese nationals are the fastest-growing student population in U.S. colleges, with more than 274, 000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2013-14 academic year. According to the report, students from China now make up 31 percent of all international students in the United States.

But as most U.S. parents with college age kids know, getting that American education does not come cheap.

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Andrew Finn, co-founder and managing director of online college test prep company ArborBridge, said that Chinese parents pay upwards of $30, 000 to try to get their kids into top-tier American universities.

Finn estimated that the standardized testing preparation market for Chinese nationals taking the ACT or SAT hit about $225 million in 2014. The college consulting and application preparation market reached close to $325 million, totaling about $550 million for the entire Chinese preparation market.

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In 2014, Finn's firm estimated there were more than 55, 000 mainland Chinese SAT takers.

The company recently announced a partnership with Chinese admissions consulting company ChaseFuture in the hopes of bringing American-style prep courses to eager Chinese college applicants. Services include one-on-one preparation, proctored practice tests, diagnostic tests and customized programs, depending on how much a family is willing to shell out.

Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

University of California, Davis freshmen Guan Wang, right, and Tracy Chen walk to class.

Some critics argue that prep services for Chinese nationals creates more competition for American citizens in an already highly competitive market. But the influx of Chinese students can actually help American students in the long run, according to the President Steve Orlins of the National Committee on US/China Relations, a nonprofit funded by U.S. corporations, private foundations and the U.S. government.

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