In the news: Chinese students looking for the elite American boarding school experience, Marvelwood School, a U.S. boarding school, said to be disillusioned

“You can turn the valve on and off,” said Jay Goulart, the school’s former interim headmaster. “If you need another 20 kids at 50 grand a pop, you get them from China.”

Parental Backlash

Cheshire cut the number of Chinese students to 90 this year because parents complained they might as well have kept their children in schools in China, Whittemore said. Cheshire[12], which also has 150 day students, provides academic support for about 35 students with learning differences.

“We’re still experiencing” the parental backlash “and still dealing with it,” said current headmaster Douglas Rogers. “We don’t want to turn kids away simply because of nationality.”

Signs posted in Cheshire’s academic buildings remind students that it’s an English-only campus, Rogers said.

Visiting China in June, Rogers was asked to speak to parents about prep-school education. Instead of the informal session he envisioned, he found himself in a civic auditorium speaking to more than 800 people, with 150 VIP’s paying almost $300 apiece and everyone else at least $50. Ushers collected tickets with his picture on them.

“I felt a little like a rock star,” Rogers said.

Enrollment Cushion

The Chinese influx has caused tensions at Chapel Hill- Chauncy Hall School[13] in Waltham,Massachusetts[14]. The product of a 1971 merger between a girls’ school and a boys’ feeder school for Massachusetts Institute of Technology[15], Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall occupies 40 acres of woods and wetlands bisected by a brook and frequented by hawks, turtles and a blue heron. It has 165 students in grades 9-12, including 80 boarders.

The school’s endowment slid to $1.8 million on June 30, 2010, from $2.2 million on July 1, 2008, according to filings. It has suffered a “slight downturn” in inquiry and application rates, headmaster Lance Conrad said.

Growing Chinese enrollment has cushioned this decline. Half of the boarders come from other countries, primarily China, said Conrad, who declined to provide exact numbers. Eleven new international students in September came from eight countries, he said.

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