College Board cuts China ties following Senatorial inquiry

Following a letter from U.S. Senators, College Board says it will no longer accept grants from China.

The College Board says China has no influence on its programs.

The close relationship “creates security concerns”, according to Senators.

Following a letter from multiple U.S. Senators, College Board has announced that it will no longer receive any funding from China’s Hanban University.

In a response to Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), College Board Senior Vice President Elissa Kim said that an agreement between College Board and Hanban concludes at the end of the year, and the College Board will not continue the agreement.

Kim said that the College Board had received seed funding from Hanban, along with an annual grant, for its AP Chinese Language program, but stated that Hanban had no influence on the contents of that program.

In the original letter, dated Oct. 26, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) cited several pieces of information to demonstrate that “College Board’s relationship with Hanban creates security concerns.” 

[Related: US designates Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes as ‘foreign missions’]

The letter referenced the U.S. Department of State’s recent decision to designate the Confucius Institute as a foreign mission of the PRC along with a recent National Association of Scholars (NAS) report that highlighted the close working relationship between College Board and Hanban, the Confucius Institute’s Beijing-based parent organization.

“We are concerned,” the letter read, “that the PRC exploits its partnership with College Board to stifle conversation that might undermine the reputation of the CCP.”

“I want to state unequivocally,” Kim responded, “Hanban and the Chinese government has never had any influence on the content of College Board curricular or educational programs; indeed, no foreign entity has such influence, nor will they ever.”

Kim also insisted that the College Board did not move any funds between Hanban and U.S. or international schools, and College Board employees working on international projects need to take a yearly anti-corruption seminar.

[Related: REPORT: College Board, administer of SAT, working with Chinese Communist Party]

The NAS report alleged that “College Board helped China place teachers in US. schools through the Chinese Guest Teacher Program, “which funnels Hanban teachers to American K-12 schools, as well as the Chinese Bridge Delegation and the National Chinese Language Conference, both of which offer professional development to American school principals and teachers of Chinese.”

“The College Board has given the Chinese government front-row access to American schools,” NAS Senior Research Fellow Rachelle Peterson told Campus Reform. “Thanks to the College Board, the Chinese government was able to corner the market on Chinese language instruction in the United States, simultaneously bringing in Chinese government-backed teachers and developing the programs and professional development that train American teachers.” 

“More than ever,” Peterson continued, “we need an alternative to the College Board, a serious rival that produces alternatives to the AP tests.  For too long the College Board has effectively operated as a monopoly, and it has abused that position by raking in funds from the Chinese Communist government.”