Session Goal:

To know what we, as a community, have learned about community college marketing in China, and in recruitment, support, and transfer for Chinese students.


Format of Presentation

● Intro of Presenters
● Community College (“CC”) Forum
● Philosophies of Recruitment
● Challenges:
○ Chinese Perspectives of CCs and CC Competitors
● Reality – why are some CCs so actively recruiting in China
● CC Marketing Models
● The Future

Weston Brown

● Director of International Programs and Recruitment
● Pima Community College


Andrew Hang Chen

  • Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of WholeRen Education Group, 5 companies, 8 U.S. offices, 4 Chinese offices
  • WholeRen = “WholeRen Person”
  • A Pittsburgh–based international student T+10 success company with focus of Chinese students
  • Enthusiastic of Community/Transfer College
  • Produced a series of 25 episode of “Transfer College in the U.S.” radio talk

  • Frequent writer 124 articles in year 2017

WholeRen Group

● Founding organization of American Community College
International Alliance and

Big Picture

Total international students: 1,078,822
Total Chinese students: 350,753 (33%)

Chinese students in CC: 17.7%
% of international students in R-1: 70%
% of international students in CC: 10%


CC Forum in China

American Community College and Transfer Admission Forum in China(3 years, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Format of the forum, Venue, Budget, Sections/ Attendance (Participating schools and student/family)/ Feedback/Outcome/Lessons Learned


Philosophies of International Student Recruitment

There are two philosophies about engaging in international student
● International recruiting oriented (USTOPPCC) – focus on
recruiting international students for fee
○ Approximately 20 community colleges
○ Actively marketing in China
■ Travel to China, employees in China
■ Understand agency model, in AIRC
● Domestic and first generation higher ed camp (AACC) – focus on
education equity, goal is on access to higher education
● Focus of this presentation is on this first group


List of CC in Group 1


What are challenges that Community Colleges face? With recruiting international Chinese students? And, against competitors for students?


Reality – Why Are CC Active in China

● Positive Economic Impact
● National Enrollment Declines
-Unemployment is at a 17 year low – “students” are working
-Fewer graduating seniors
-Increasing enrollment of online students
● Globalizing the Classroom
● Support from the Top Down
-International must be a part of the College’s Mission
-Financial Support from the Administration
-Demonstrate investment value


Chinese Perspectives of Community Colleges

● Rankings
○ CC are not ranked, even amongst their peer institutions
● Lack of understanding of community colleges and the transfer
○ Both of these do not exist in the Chinese school system
● Comparables are 大专 (third tier technical school)
● Cultural/Historical Views of Education
○ The image doesn’t fit the middle class demand of American
international education
○ It is for “bad” students who cannot get into a four year college
○ Open admission is viewed as drawback – the lack of selectivity
for admission
○ It is cheap – the “higher” the price, the “better” the product –
so with CC cost being low, this is not desirable

CC “Competitors”/Partners

Top 100

• Top ranked schools, four year institutions, international markets have full awareness of these schools
• Opportunities for CC marketing: hard to get in, better transfer route

Language programs – ELS, Kaplan’s

• Strong marketing network in China; open enrollment even without language score.
• Opportunities for CC marketing: Require another admission to a college, no academic credits

Pathway Programs

– Flexible student intake strategy, aggressive marketing, large capacity
– Cons: cannot transfer to top 60.

Less selective 4-year universities

• Opportunities:work as partners


CC Marketing Models in Terms of Results

• Santa Monica College model

– Location
– Partner with Kaplan
– #1 transfer college to UCLA, USC, the University of California system and Loyola Marymount University
– Long-established history of success

• Green River College model

– #10 CC international student enrollment in US
– Large number of staff involved with international student support
– Committed leader
– Word of mouth, work with Chinese secondary schools in smaller city

• Foothill – De Anza model
– Mainly Work with agencies
– Dedicated in-country staff
– On-ground staff in China, actively working with agencies
– High transfer record


Strategic Marketing Factors and Practices


The Future

“Winner Takes More” effect

– CC have unlimited capacity – can easily take large #s of international students
– Existing international students will enhance referral, and transfer records

Schools that do well will continue to do well so establishing a strategic recruitment plan is in the interest of CC (go back to the 3 models and describe how to replicate)

“Reverse transfers” and “transfer credit”

Enhance student support with 3rd party companies, because transfer is the lifeline, not low

Focus on transfer results, on-campus support, rather than recruitment

– Work with academic support partners
– Money is not major issue for Chinese students, “What can $8000 buy?”

Partner with secondary schools, and technical schools

– School-agency-student vs. School-agency-school-student model


Q&A, Reference


1. Transfer College talk:

2. American Community College International Alliance

3. White paper of US Transfer College and Community Colleges

2017 White paper of US Transfer College and Community Colleges


Andrew H. Chen
Chief Learning Officer
WholeRen Education

Weston C. Brown
Director, International Programs and Recruitment
Pima Community College District