Many students today want to learn Chinese, study abroad in China, or immerse themselves in Chinese culture. If you’re one of these students, consider one of the many colleges in America that have Confucius Institutes, centers of Chinese language and culture.
Confucius is China’s most influential philosopher, teacher and political theorist, known for his models of social interaction. Confucianism is not a religion, but it provides “rules for thinking and living that focus on love for humanity, worship of ancestors, respect for elders, self-discipline and conformity to rituals,” according to Biography.com.
Confucius Institutes are educational organizations that began appearing around the world in 2004. They’re overseen by the non-profit/public Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in Beijing, officially the Office of Chinese Language Council International. Almost 100 institutes are components of colleges throughout America. These institutes often provide China-centered educational programs, experiences and events to students and the local public. Their mission is to promote multiculturalism. Most Confucius Institutes feature the following:
- Chinese language programs
- A partner university in China
- Hanban-chosen faculty/teachers from China
- Scholarship opportunities
- Study abroad and exchange programs
- Chinese culture exposure and education
Because they’re affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Confucius Institutes have become centers of controversy in the last few years. Inside Higher Ed reported that American universities were called on to close their Confucius Institutes by the American Association of University Professors in 2014, by the National Association of Scholars in April 2017, and by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio earlier this year. These entities have cited “too much Chinese government influence” and concerns over academic freedom as reasons behind their call for closure. Critics of the Confucius Institutes point out that, while they are housed in American universities, they are partially funded and staffed by Hanban.
However, proponents view the institutes as legitimate and productive vehicles for cultural and academic exchange. The institutes have been resources of Chinese language and culture at a time when support for the humanities is shrinking and college student interest in China is rising.
We want you to be aware of as many higher-education-related opportunities that we can find, regardless of political opinion. We also want to find you the best value, which is why we ranked the top 50 cheapest colleges and universities that have active Confucius Institutes.
To create this ranking, we sourced information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database, the individual school’s website and other resource websites listed at the end of this article. We started with a list of the more than 90 Confucius Institutes in America, and then narrowed it down to the 50 cheapest universities, according to the NCES-reported net costs. The net cost is the median average net cost by income.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published to include the Confucius Institutes at Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M, but they have since ended their partnerships with the Chinese organization.
50. Wesleyan College in Macon, GA
Net Cost: $12,800
Wesleyan College is a private women’s college with a Historic District 200-acre lakeside campus that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. WC has just 700 students, 25 percent of which are international, small classes and eight pre-professional programs.
The Confucius Institute at Wesleyan College (CIWC) established in 2012 with the help of its partner, Guangzhou University. The world renowned Soong Sisters are Wesleyan Alumnae, and the center offers access to the art, artifacts and documents in archives that are closely related to them. This specific Institute serves as a unique resource for Chinese studies through its China Museum, which contains the following:
- Silk tapestries
- Oriental screens
- Ornate rosewood tables and chairs
- Porcelain objects d’art
- Other Chinese art and artifacts that are a part of Wesleyan’s longstanding history with China
49. University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN
Net Cost: $12,556
University of Minnesota is a public research land-grant university, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs and locations throughout the state. The 31,500+ undergraduate and 16,000+ graduate students have access to more than 900 student organizations.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota (CIUMN) is partnered with the Capital Normal University in Beijing. The University and Minnesota’s K-12 system has a long history with China, offering Chinese language programs for more than 30 years. This specific Institute offers the following:
- Cultural and language training for the business community
- Professional development training and support for Chinese language teachers
- Chinese proficiency assessments for K-12 schools and the general public
- Educational trips to China for students and educators
- Language and cultural programming for the general public throughout the year
48. Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University has five key strategic partners in China with which it collaborates to improve water and environmental sustainability worldwide.
Net Cost: $15,927
Colorado State University is a large land-grant research university and the state’s flagship campus. CSU has an 86 percent student retention rate, and 90 percent of its graduates say they would choose this college again. In addition to a multitude of research opportunities CSU offers:
- 40+ fully-online degree programs
- 105 graduate degree programs
- 27 professional master’s degree programs
- Professional Veterinary Medicine program
The Confucius Institute at CSU (CICSU) offers courses on Chinese language and culture. It is also considered a “specialized Confucius Institute” because it emphasizes topics related to China and the U.S. on water and environmental sustainability. According to CSU, the university has historically strong educational ties with East China Normal University in Shanghai.
47. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan is so committed to Chinese language and culture that it created a U-M website in Mandarin.
Net Cost: $10,028
The University of Michigan is a large public research university with. The main campus is in Ann Arbor with branch campuses Dearborn and Flint. It offers a comfortable 12:1 student-teacher ratio and 250 degree programs to its nearly 45,000 students.
Launched in 2009, the Confucius Institute at U-M (CIUM) is viewed as an integral component of the university’s global arts program and “China Initiatives”. CIUM is partnered with Hanban (Chinese Language Council International) and Renmin University of China (People’s University Of China). CIUM is unique in that instead of focusing mainly on the Chinese language, it puts emphasis on cultural arts, values and traditions.
46. University of California, Davis in Davis, CA
The Confucius Institute at the University of California, Davis is the only one in the world to focus on Chinese food, opening UC Davis’ first authentic Chinese food truck.
Net Cost: $13,578
University of California, Davis is a public research and land-grant university. It’s one of 10 campuses in the University of California system. On its 5,300-acre campus, UC Davis and its 34,145 students are just 20 minutes from the state’s capital. In addition to its main campus, UC Davis students can get hands-on experience at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Davis Health and the Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
The Confucius Institute at UC Davis is the first CI in the world focusing on Chinese food and beverage culture. As a direct unit of Global Affairs at UC Davis and partner of Jiangnan University, this CI offers unique Chinese food and beverage programs:
- Chinese food cooking workshops
- Chinese market field trips
- Food & wine lectures and tastings
- Food garnishing workshops
- Tea cultures lectures and tastings
- An “innovative cooking” competition
45. University of Toledo in Toledo, OH
The Confucius Institute at the University of Toledo offers scholarships for college students in six different categories, like a bachelor’s degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (BTCSOL).
Net Cost: $17,332
The University of Toledo is a large public metropolitan research university with 16,200 undergraduate students and 4,380+ graduate students, representing 82 different countries. In 2006, UToledo merged with the Medical University of Ohio, forming the third-largest public university operating budget in the state. UT offers more than 300 degree and professional programs. It also has online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, graduate and doctoral levels.
The Confucius Institute at UT (UTCI) opened in 2009 and partners with Yanshan University. UTCI has committed to enhance Chinese cultural understanding by providing the following:
- Education in Chinese language and culture
- China-related scholarly research and discovery
- Chinese academic programs
- Educational and training programs that support business outreach and engagement
- Opportunities for cultural exchanges between China and the U.S.
44. University of Delaware in Newark, DE
The Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware works with East China Normal University and Xiamen University to host the two-week US-China Student Forum.
Net Cost: $14,622
The University of Delaware is the largest university in the state, with seven colleges and 23,774 students. UD is home to America’s first study abroad program. Today, 30 percent of its students study abroad each year. UD is among the top 20 public universities and colleges for its high, on-time graduation rate.
Launched in 2010, the Confucius Institute at UD partners with Xiamen University in China to develop global academic and cultural programs and initiatives. The CI at UD offers scholarships for studying abroad at Xiamen for one semester or one academic year. It also offers a full master’s degree program in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL). Two unique Chinese culture classes that UD’s CI operates are in folk dance and kung fu.
43. University of Maryland in College Park, MD
The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland offers a study abroad scholarship called The China Study Plan.
Net Cost: $18,418
According to NCES, the University of Maryland enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate students, 16 percent of whom identify as Asian. This large public research university, located outside of Washington, D.C., offers almost 100 undergraduate majors. Online, graduate and doctoral degree programs are also at UMD.
Founded in November of 2004, UMD’s Confucius Institute (CIM) became the first Chinese language and culture center of its kind in the U.S. CIM partners directly with Nankai University of Tianjin, China. UMD also has many other partnerships with Chinese institutions. Fudan University, situated in one of the most popular locations to study abroad, is partnered with UMD’s Phillip Merrell College of Journalism, allowing American professors to teach journalism abroad.
42. Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ
The Confucius Institute at Rutgers University offers a set of undergraduate courses in Chinese Studies for students.
Net Cost: $20,935
Rutgers University, a national research university, is the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. New Brunswick is the oldest of the three Rutgers campuses and is located on the Raritan River. The 69,198 students come from all 50 states and 125 different countries. They can choose from 150+ undergraduate majors and 200+ graduate programs.
Launched in 2007, the Confucius Institute of Rutgers (CIRU) is a partner with Jilin University in Changchun, China. CIRU is the first center of its kind in the state, and it has four main goals:
- Broaden Chinese language instruction
- Promote Chinese culture
- Spur the development of Chinese Studies
- Advance a wide range of cultural exchanges of the U.S. and China
41. Cleveland State University in Cleveland, OH
The Confucius Institute at Cleveland State University is conducting six major research projects on subjects like culture shock and adaptation.
Net Cost: $20,935
Cleveland State University is a public research university in downtown Cleveland that received a $500-million campus makeover. Cleveland state has:
- 17,000 students
- Eight colleges
- 200+ academic programs
- 1,300 international students, led by students from India, China and Saudi Arabia
Established in 2008, the Confucius Institute at CSU partners with the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, China. In addition to Chinese language and culture promotion, this CI connects CSU and the local business community to Chinese institutions for educational and business cooperation. Other cultural programs include Chinese proficiency exams and Ohio K-12 Chinese speech and essay contests.
40. Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI
The Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University offers free Chinese language tutoring all year.
Net Cost: $19,841
Western Michigan University is a public research university with more than 23,000 students and a 91 percent post-graduate success rate. WMU celebrates 50 years of sustainability and offers 90 different study abroad programs. Most classes are small and taught by full-time professors, spanning 149 bachelor’s, 75 master’s and 32 doctoral programs.
Established in 2009, the Confucius Institute at WMU partners with the Beijing Language and Culture University. It annually provides Chinese teachers who are “trained in teaching Chinese as a foreign language and conducting Chinese and cultural courses.” This CI offers culture classes to WMU faculty, staff, students and the public in the following subjects:
- Chinese ink painting
- Paper cutting
- Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Chinese Language
39. University of Oregon in Eugene, OR
One recent program sponsored by the University of Oregon Confucius Institute included Chinese calligraphy, painting and paper cutting at the Oregon Craft Center.
Net Cost: $15,109
The University of Oregon is a public flagship research university tucked into the scenic Willamette Valley, close to the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. OU’s nine schools and colleges offer 300+ degree and certificate programs to its 23,634 students. Twenty-four percent of undergraduates study abroad at UOregon, and 31 percent of freshmen are ethnic and racial minorities.
Initiated in 2009, the UO Confucius Institute for Global China Studies is housed in the Office of International Affairs. UO’s CI is partnered with the prestigious East China Normal University in Shanghai, where students can study abroad and work toward international graduate degree programs, like the business and Chinese dual-degree MA. This institute’s programs, events and offerings surround four themes:
- Chinese culture across borders
- China futures/global futures
- Chinese culture on a world stage
- China and global sustainability
38. Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA
Net Cost: $15,109
Old Dominion University is a metropolitan doctoral research university with three satellite campuses and online degrees. ODU enrolls 24,375 students who represent 110 different countries. The university offers 274 academic programs.
The Confucius Institute at ODU (CIODU) works with the ODU China Center and the Minzu University in Beijing to promote understanding between U.S. citizens and the people of China. ODU is located within the bustling greater Hampton Roads. It offers a unique business focus for CIODU, giving it the opportunity to “facilitate commercial enterprises between individuals and institutions in Southeastern Virginia and China.” CIODU offers resources and assistance in the following:
- Basic business language education
- Introductory and in-depth knowledge of China’s cultural practices
- Access to contacts in commerce and academic business resources in China
- Custom-designed courses and workshops to meet specific needs
37. University at Albany, SUNY in Albany, NY
Through its Confucius Institute, the University of Albany offers courses in tai chi, urban development China, business language and culture in China and more.
Net Cost: $20,138
The University at Albany is a large public research university in New York’s Capital Region, enrolling 17,600 students. One of the State Universities of New York, UAlbany offers more than 250 student clubs and over 1,000 study abroad programs. Within the nine schools and colleges, you can choose from 150+ undergraduate programs.
The UAlbany Confucius Institute partners with the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. To accomplish its mission of expanding knowledge and understanding of Chinese language and culture, the UA-CI offers the following:
- Chinese language instruction for both the university and general public diverse
- Cultural events
- High profile Speaker Series
- Academic conferences and forums
- Engagement with local businesses in the study of the Chinese economy and its implications for New York
36. University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME
One of the goals of the Confucius Institute at the University of Southern Maine is to facilitate and advance collaborative research between Chinese and Maine universities.
Net Cost: $12,684
The University of Southern Maine is a multi-campus public university with locations in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston. The Portland campus is at the heart of the state’s biggest city. Portland is nationally known for its arts and culture, outdoor recreation and amazing food. USM offers a wide spectrum of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. Application is free for Maine residents.
Maine’s first Confucius Institute is at USM. It partners with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, where students can study abroad for one semester or a full year. The institute’s initial focus is language, culture and education because it’s built upon an existing community-wide interest in the study of Mandarin and Chinese culture. This CI’s purpose is to enhance relations between Maine and China in the following areas:
35. Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI
The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University has helped more than 100 Chinese teachers achieve certification by the Michigan Department of Education.
Net Cost: $20,696
Michigan State University is a massive public research university and the nation’s pioneer land-grant university. Just over 50,000 students study on the 5,200-acre campus, located three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing. International students make up almost 14 percent of MSU’s enrollment.
Established in 2006, the Confucius Institute at MSU (CI-MSU) partners with the Open University of China in Beijing. Unique parts of this CI’s mission include:
-conducting research on issues specific to teaching Chinese as a foreign language;
-reforming and creating an innovative & effective learning and teaching system.
More than 4,000 students take advantage of CI-MSU’s variety of online Chinese classes, such as 1A to 4B and AP online Chinese courses.
34. Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT
On campus at Central Connecticut State University, the Confucius Institute offers conversational Chinese language classes at three levels of proficiency.
Net Cost: $15,860
Central Connecticut State University is a regional public university and the state’s oldest publicly funded university. Affordable Colleges Online named CCSU one of the “Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Connecticut.” CCSU enrolls just under 12,000 students. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificate programs.
CCSU’s partnership with Shandong Normal University, its sister university in Shandong Province, China, predates the establishment of the University’s Confucius Institute. This CI is the first in the state. It “seeks to expand and enrich Chinese language instruction and the appreciation of Chinese culture throughout Connecticut.” This Institute hosts a public library of 3000 titles. Holdings range from Chinese textbooks to Chinese history, poetry and literature within CCSU’s Elihu Burritt Library.
33. University of Idaho in Moscow, ID
The University of Idaho Confucius Institute helps oversee the minor in Asian studies, through which students can study abroad in Asia.
Net Cost: $13,528
University of Idaho is a leading land-grant research university with more than 11,000 students and a 15:1 Student-teacher ratio. UI offers 93 undergraduate majors and 67 graduate majors at its main campus. There are three educations centers, a research and extension center in Twin Falls and extension offices in 42 counties.
UIdaho’s Confucius Institute partners with the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China. Established in 2013, the UICI was the first in its state. It’s housed in the University’s historic Administration Building. Its establishment is part of UI’s strategy to “reinforce its role as a leading research and teaching center in the world.” Its mission has three parts:
- Further the understanding of Chinese language and culture
- Encourage faculty and student exchange
- Foster economic development between the United States and China
32. Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA
The Confucius Institute at Georgia State University conducted research on all other Confucius Institutes in America and found that GSU is one of the most business-oriented CI’s in the country.
Net Cost: $15,145
Georgia State University is a public urban research university with a main campus in downtown Atlanta and six additional campuses. The more than 30,000 students at GSU have come from every county in Georgia, every state in the U.S. and 170 different countries. In 2017, GSU earned recognition as the top public or nonprofit university in Georgia “to confer undergraduate and graduate degrees to African-Americans, Asians and Latinos.”
The Confucius Institute at GSU is unique. It’s mainly business-oriented, serving as a one-of-a-kind resource for business communities in metro Atlanta, Georgia and beyond. It establishes and furthers business and trade relations with China. This CI facilitates annual delegations of governors, legislators, local mayors and business representatives to visit China, learn about the language and experience its culture. Some of the business-oriented services this CI offers include:
- Business Oriented Language Instruction
- Short Courses on Chinese Business Culture in English
- Workshops, Seminars and Crash Courses
- Exchanges between Business Groups
- Courses on American Culture Offered for Chinese Business Groups
- Consulting Services about American and Chinese Cultures
- Annual Conventions on Business Chinese
31. Removed by editor
30. Portland State University in Portland, OR
The Confucius Institute at Portland State University offers scholarships for undergraduate college students to study Chinese or conduct research regarding Chinese language and culture in China.
Net Cost: $13,599
Portland State University is Oregon’s most affordable public research university. It’s located in the heart of Portland, one of America’s most dynamic cities. PSU offers its 25,000+ students a vibrant cultural scene, state-of-the-art science labs and tree-lined park blocks on its urban campus. Students enjoy the choice of 200+ degree programs, an average $42,900 salary after graduation and employment at companies like Intel, OHSU and Nike.
The Confucius Institute at PSU (CI-PSU) was established in 2007. Not only does the CI-PSU partner with Soochow University, but the state of Portland considers Suzhou, China a sister city. Within the Office of International Affairs, CI-PSU fosters mutually beneficial educational exchanges between America and China. It also offers non-degree Chinese language and culture courses for the following:
- Pre-K and K-12 students
- College and graduate students
- Business, corporate and government employees
- The general public
29. San Diego State University in San Diego, CA
Thanks to the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, you can immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture through its two-week summer study abroad program in China.
Net Cost: $14,730
San Diego State University is the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego County. It’s also a premier urban research university. SDSU is comprised of seven colleges, the Division of Undergraduate Studies and the Weber Honors College. In November 2017, SDSU announced plans to expand its campus by another 166 acres. The hopes are to build affordable student housing on site and a world-class university research and innovation campus.
The Confucius Institute at SDSU opened in 2009 and has an academic partnership with Xiamen University. This particular Institute has a strong focus on teacher training, offering both on-site and online classes. It also offers a unique Chinese martial arts class, which includes courses on the basics of martial arts, Chinese Health Qigong for wellbeing and 32 forms of Taiji sword.
28. University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, WI
Some of the events that the Confucius Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville runs include movie nights, Tai chi lessons, jewelry knots workshops, cooking nights and lecture series.
Net Cost: $15,152
University of Wisconsin-Platteville is a comprehensive public university and the fastest growing university in the UW system. Undergraduates can choose from 41 majors, 66 minors and 17 pre-professional programs. UW-Platteville also offers two graduate degree programs and seven online degree programs. This is a smaller college located within walking distance to nearly all of the city’s amenities. It has a total enrollment of 8,955 students and an average class size of 21.
Established in 2008, the Confucius Institute at UW-Platteville partners with South-Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, China. This is the only Confucius Institute in Wisconsin and the only CI in a partnership with one of the six Universities for Nationalities in China. Through the partnership, this CI operates an annual two-week educational trip that’s open to all Wisconsin students 18 years and older, as well as kindergarten through college education professionals.
27. University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA
Net Cost: $13,081
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university in the Westwood district of LA. It’s the most applied-to university in the nation. A whopping 34 percent of UCLA undergraduates receive Pell Grants, and more than half of the undergraduates earn some kind of financial aid. UCLA offers 125+ majors and almost 150 graduate degree programs. The UCLA Extension is one of America’s largest and most comprehensive continuing higher education programs.
The Confucius Institute at UCLA is one of six institutes in California. This institute is unique in it offerings and programs. It has opportunities for graduate student and faculty research in China. Its Materials Project develops materials and related training programs to improve language teaching practices and student outcome. Also unique to UCLA, the CI partners with the university’s Center for East West Medicine (CEWM) to offer Chinese medicine projects. To accomplish this, the CI develops specialized Mandarin language curriculum for medical professionals and a methodology to translate medical terminology.
26. University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA
As one of its community culture course offerings, the University of Iowa Confucius Institute offers Taiji classes for a range of proficiency levels.
Net Cost: $18,272
The University of Iowa is a public research university and the oldest in the state. It’s located along the picturesque Iowa River. UI offers 200+ areas of study to its 31,65 students. UI students have come from all 50 states and 114 different countries. Here, you’ll find the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop and one of the largest and most acclaimed medical centers in the country.
The Confucius Institute at UI is part of University of Iowa International Programs. It collaborates with East China Normal University in Shanghai. To promote a better understanding of Chinese culture and language, this Institute offers courses in Chinese language and culture. It also plays a leadership role in international Chinese foreign language research and teacher development. This center draws from other colleges and units at UI, like:
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Ph.D. program in Second Language Acquisition
- College of Education
- Graduate College
- College of Law
- Office of Vice President for Research
25. University of Montana in Missoula, MT
Public, private and homeschool high school students can learn Chinese language and culture for free through the University of Montana’s Montana Digital Academy.
Net Cost: $17,049
The University of Montana, a public research university, is the flagship university of the Montana University system. UMT has a beautiful campus. It’s located in Montana’s second-largest city on 56 acres at the base of Mount Sentinel along the Clark Fork River. More than 10,000 students work here, and on UM’s 180-acre South Campus, toward all levels of degree and certificate programs.
The Confucius Institute at UMT is housed with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center and is the only Confucius Institute in the Northern Rockies region. According to its website, the highlight of this center’s programming is the delivery of high quality in-person and online Chinese language instruction for K-12 students. The Institute facilitated the first ever public Chinese classroom instruction in the state. The Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, China is UMT’s partner abroad.
24. Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY
The Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University presents Chinese cultural workshops, open to students and the general public, that teach Chinese calligraphy, Chinese paper cutting and more.
Net Cost: $18,186
Stony Brook University is a public sea-grant and space-grant research university with a 17:1 student-faculty ratio and a 1,039-acre campus on the North Shore of Long Island. At Stony Brook, 98 percent of faculty hold doctoral or the highest degrees in their fields. They’ve created 2,210+ inventions and 640+ U.S. patents. Students can choose from 65 majors and 81 minors. The average financial aid package for freshmen is an average of $12,900.
Established in 2008, the Confucius Institute at Stony Brook (CISBU) partners with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (ZUEL) in Wuhan, China. It operates to enhance the community’s understanding of Chinese language and culture, as well as cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and the U.S. University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. led a team of key university personnel on a strategic trip to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They presented the unique benefits of a Stony Brook education to about 900 prospective students and families.
23. St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN
The Confucius Institute at St. Cloud State University once ran a crowdfunding campaign to support accessibility for students with disabilities in education abroad programs to China.
Net Cost: $13,373
As one of the 13,928 students at St. Cloud State University, you can choose from 200 different academic programs and 60 graduate degree options, or take one of the 200 courses offered online. If you’re interested in studying abroad, St. Cloud State offers education abroad destinations on six continents. This 100-acred campus is situated between downtown St. Cloud and the Beaver Islands, a two-mile stretch of more than 30 islands along the Mississippi River.
The Confucius Institute at St. Cloud focuses on “the development and sustainability of Chinese Immersion programs in Minnesota and promoting new Chinese language programs in Central Minnesota.” It has accomplished this by establishing seven Chinese Immersion Programs throughout the state. The first program, Yinghua Academy, opened in 2006 in Minneapolis. It was the first Chinese Immersion Charter School in America. This CI partners with the Jilin Province Department of Education in Changchun, China. It also sends students on a two-week program to study abroad in China. Students visit sites like The Great Wall and American Education Center in the U.S. Beijing Embassy.
22. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in Honolulu, HI
The Confucius Institute of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa developed an online resource base to link Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, the PRC and other Chinese communities, promoting education about Chinese language and culture.
Net Cost: $15,372
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is a major teaching and research university. It’s also the largest and oldest university in the 10-campus UH system. With an affordable tuition more than $4,000 below the national average for a public university, Hawai‘i has one of the country’s lowest rates of student debt. UH Mānoa is one of a handful of land-, sea- and space-grant institutions, offering one-of-a-kind research opportunities in earth and environmental sciences. Of UHM’s 13,132 undergraduate students, 39 percent identify as Asian.
Hawai‘i’s history with Chinese emigrants dates back to 1789 when they landed on its shores and built the beginnings of what is now the business district of Honolulu. The Confucius Institute at UHM (CI-UHM) is a part of the university’s Center for Chinese Studies. It’s the largest such research and training center outside of Asia. Housed within the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, the CI-UHM operates jointly with Beijing Foreign Studies University. This Institute was established in 2006 and has accomplished goals such as developing an articulated, online Chinese language curriculum for K-12 students.
21. University of Memphis in Memphis, TN
The University of Memphis, with support from its Confucius Institute, offers a new Asian Studies and International Trade program.
Net Cost: $15,287
The University of Memphis is a public research university with more than 21,000 students and a campus located in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Here, you can choose from 17 different bachelor’s degrees in 250+ areas of study. There are also master’s and doctoral programs, post-grad certificates, education specialist degrees and a law degree. This university also runs five centers of excellence:
- Center for Applied Psychological Research (CAPR)
- Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI)
- Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP)
- Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired (CRISCI)
- Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology
- Intercollegiate Sports
The Confucius Institute at UM (CIUM) is home to the unique Asian Studies and International Trade (ASIT) degree program. This center’s connection to Confucius is a bit stronger than others on this list because its director, Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, is a 75th direct descendant of Confucius, as well as a 30-year tenured professor. Hubei University in China is CIUM’s partner institution. In addition, UM has participated with a number of universities in China for student exchange and study abroad programs.
20. San Francisco State University in San Francisco, CA
Two of the programs/services available at the San Francisco State University’s Confucius Institute include a textbook and teaching resource center and a platform for research on Chinese language and culture.
Net Cost: $16,661
San Francisco State University is a public urban research university that offers bachelor’s degrees in 77 different academic areas and master’s degrees in 63 academic areas. According to its website, SF State is the fourth top college in America for international students. It’s the No. 1 university in America for sending the most students to study abroad. This large college enrolls more than 29,000 students, 25 percent of whom identify as Asian.
The Confucius Institute at SFSU (CISFSU) became the first center of its kind in the Western U.S. back in 2005. CISFSU works in partnership with Beijing Normal University to offer more opportunities for Chinese language learners and teachers at every educational level. Some of the main activities sponsored by this Institute include:
- Mandarin courses
- Teacher training programs
- Chinese Language Bridge Cup Contests for K-12 Students
- Chinese Bridge-Chinese Proficiency Competition for College Students
- Summer Camps
- Community activities
- Cultural events
19. Augusta University in Augusta, GA
At Augusta University, students can earn a certificate in traditional Chinese medicine, thanks to the school’s Confucius Institute.
Net Cost: $12,274
Formerly known as Georgia Regents University, Augusta University is a public research university and medical center with locations across the state and satellite campuses in Athens, Albany, Rome and Savannah. Students at Augusta benefit from hands-on clinical research opportunities through the Medical College of Georgia, the eighth-largest medical school in America. Augusta is also home to the state’s largest College of Nursing and Georgia’s only dental school, The Dental College of Georgia.
The Confucius Institute at Augusta is partnered with Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This center has a unique goal of providing Chinese language and culture instruction targeted to health professionals. In addition to the undergraduate courses in Mandarin Chinese language, this CI offers graduate and undergraduate courses and a certificate program in “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” These are offered through the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences.
18. North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC
Because Mandarin Chinese is one of the fastest growing languages, the Confucius Institute at North Carolina State University offers the “Ni-Hao” Wolfpack Chinese language and culture camp for K-12 students.
Net Cost: $15,084
North Carolina State University is a large public research university that started as a land-grant institution grounded in agriculture and engineering. NC State is one of the world’s best colleges of veterinary medicine Its 35,000+ students can choose from more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Three of NC State’s colleges are on the Centennial Campus, a national hub for education, innovation and public-private partnership.
NC State’s Confucius Institute supports and organizes Chinese language and culture programs for students, teachers, local businesses and community members. Through this center, students can spend a summer at Nanjing Normal University, regardless of their Chinese proficiency. In this study abroad program, students attend Chinese art performances and excursions to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzou.
17. Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ
Arizona State University students visit local K-12 schools as China Ambassadors to present information related to Chinese culture, geography and history.
Net Cost: $14,033
Arizona State University is a research university with five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area and four regional learning centers throughout the state. U.S. News & World Report named ASU the most innovative university in the country and one of the best graduate schools. As an undergraduate student at ASU, you can choose from more than 350 majors, taught by MacArthur fellows, Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Founded in 2007, ASU’s Confucius Institute is partnered with Sichuan University. This center received the 2016 Confucius Institute of the Year award at the 11th Global Confucius Institute Conference. In addition to the teacher training and Chinese language classes, ASU’s Institute offers the following culture-related programs:
- Chinese speech and writing competitions
- Photo and drawing contests
- Classes in calligraphy, Chinese knotting, traditional Chinese painting and crafts
16. University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR
The Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas offers Chinese translation and consultation services to local businesses.
Net Cost: $14,880
University of Central Arkansas is a public comprehensive university located on a 356-acre campus just 30 miles north of Little Rock. UCA offers 154 different certificates and degrees to its 11,177 students. It has a 15:1 student-teacher ratio and a 90 percent admission rate.
Established in 2007, the Confucius Institute at UCA is the state’s only center of its kind. This institute partners with East China Normal University, one of the most prestigious universities in China. This center operates 25 programs to fulfill its mission of enhancing “the mutual understanding of each respective culture and to promote Chinese language and culture within the state of Arkansas.” One such program is the creation of a new Chinese language major at UCA.
15. University of Texas at San Antonio in San Antonio, TX
The Confucius Institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio is working to open Confucius Classrooms and Chinese college courses at Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College and San Antonio College.
Net Cost: $13,827
The University of Texas at San Antonio is a state research university with just over 32,000 students. It’s the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA has three campuses and 160 academic degree programs. Businessweek named UTSA the “No. 1 Hispanic Serving Institution in the nation and one of the top five programs in Texas.”
The Confucius Institute at UTSA focuses on establishing Confucius Classrooms in all of the community colleges and in grade schools in San Antonio area. In addition to Chinese language programs instructed by Chinese language professors, the center offers college-credit cultural classes. It also has year-round programs for pre-school through high school students. UTSA’s partner college is the University of International Business and Economics, located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing.
14. University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY
Net Cost: $19,834
The University at Buffalo is the largest campus in the 64-campus State University of New York system. It has more than 31,000 students enrolled. At Buffalo, you can choose from 400+ undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. This is a research-intensive public university with an intimate 13:1 undergraduate student/faculty ratio. It has made innovative advances like inventing the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer.
The university’s UB Confucius Institute “supports China-related research and artistic production” as well as cultural events in the community and Chinese language classes in local K-12 schools. One of UB’s long-time partners in China is the Capital Normal University. It has multiple community partners, like the International Institute of Buffalo. This CI’s scholarship program offers UB students the opportunity to study for four weeks, a semester or a year at a Chinese university. It covers full tuition, on-campus accommodations and a monthly stipend.
13. University of Massachusetts Boston in Boston, MA
The Confucius Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston offers free Tai Chi classes to students each week.
Net Cost: $18,521
Nationally recognized as a student-centered urban public research university, the University of Massachusetts Boston has a 120-acre waterfront campus on the Columbia Point peninsula. It’s minutes from downtown Boston. As a student at UMass Boston, you can enjoy a small college atmosphere, as well as the benefits and resources of the UMass system. Over 90 percent of the faculty at UMB hold the highest degree in their fields.
Established in 2006, the Confucius Institute at UMass’ goal is to enhance “the mutual understanding of language and culture” between China and the Boston area. This center is New England’s first Confucius Institute. It has two partners abroad: Renmin University of China and the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China. A group of objectors called for the University of Massachusetts Boston to close its Confucius Institute earlier this year, but it continues to pursue its mission of promoting Chinese language and culture in the U.S.
12. Wayne State University in Detroit, MI
As a student at Wayne State University, you can practice your Chinese language through the Confucius Institute’s free mobile app, which teaches Chinese phrases via video.
Net Cost: $13,668
Wayne State University is a public research university located in the heart of Detroit. With 27,000+ students that have come from every state and 70 different countries, WSU is the most diverse college in Michigan. This campus is home to the nation’s first electric-drive vehicle engineering program, as well as TechTown, Detroit’s most established business accelerator and incubator.
Open for over 10 years, the Confucius Institute at Wayne State is housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. Its mission is to provide and support Chinese language and cultural programs in the university community, K-12 schools and professional communities throughout southeastern Michigan. Wayne State partners with Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. Something unique to Wayne State’s CI is the Confucius Cafe, a comfortable on-campus setting where students and faculty can learn from invited speakers weekly. Plus, several native Chinese speakers are available at the cafe to help all levels of students with their Chinese.
11. University of Alaska Anchorage in Anchorage, AK
The University of Alaska Anchorage offers the Alaskan Chinese Scholarship “to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to study and conduct research in Chinese universities.”
Net Cost: $14,966
University of Alaska Anchorage is Alaska’s largest public research university with 14,644 total students and a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. In addition to its main campus, UAA has four community campuses in some of the most beautiful places in Alaska. Its student body is made up of more than 90 percent of Alaska residents, who have the choice of more than 100 academic programs and 100 different student clubs.
The Confucius Institute at UAA (UAA-CI) opened to cultivate Alaska-China relations by promoting Chinese language, culture and teach training. This institute offers annual programming unique to this location, such as:
- Assistance in providing undergraduate instruction and curriculum development in the Chinese language program at UAA
- Offering non-credit courses about the Chinese language and culture to the Anchorage community
- Presenting academic lectures on a variety of topics about the Chinese language and culture
- Supporting K-12 Chinese programs in curriculum development and with material resources
- Facilitating students’ Chinese culture experience through a summer camp program
10. Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN
The Confucius Institute at Middle Tennessee State University recruits volunteer Chinese language teachers from China to teach at local K-12 schools.
Net Cost: $14,822
Middle Tennessee State University is a comprehensive public university offering more than 240+ academic programs. With $20 million in scholarships annually, 96 percent of MTSU undergraduates receive financial aid. This large college is the top producer of graduates for the Greater Nashville economy. Students at the Murfreesboro campus enjoy the more than $800 million worth of new facilities, including a 250,000-square-foot, $147 million Science Building.
The Confucius Institute at MTSU (CIMTSU) partners with Hangzhou Normal University of China. Its goal is to better facilitate engagement with China, as well as to offer opportunities of student exchange and collaboration between communities in Tennessee and China. It aims to enhance understanding and knowledge of Chinese language, history, contemporary society, and culture.
9. Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University recently expanded its reach when it purchased Kaplan University, becoming Purdue University Global.
Net Cost: $9,654
Purdue University is a public research university known for discoveries in science, technology and engineering. Purdue operates campus locations around the state and online opportunities that span the globe, earning it the No. 4 spot for highest international student enrollment. In addition to professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine, you can choose from 200+ undergraduate and more than 80 graduate degree programs.
The Confucius Institute at Purdue (CIP) is partnered with the Purdue University China Center and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The CIP promotes Chinese culture and language through the following:
- Academic programs
- Research project teams
- Community outreach
- K-12 schools
This institute works to serve the Greater Lafayette community, and the campus, in areas of business, global engineering and tourism. Its service focuses on “information and expertise on Chinese culture and language education.”
8. Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY
The Confucius Institute at West Kentucky University supports college student exchange by providing scholarships to study abroad.
Net Cost: $15,209
Western Kentucky University is a larger public university situated on a hilltop of a city with a population of more than 60,000. Just 65 miles north of Nashville, WKU students can choose from 100 academic majors and 111 minors, with subject areas like Chinese and Asian religions and cultures. In addition to a variety of master’s degree programs, it has four doctoral programs and over 50 online degrees.
WKU’s Confucius Institute is currently under construction, but it’s newly launched website offers a plethora of resources. This institute is a focused center of Chinese language and culture, Chinese teacher training and curriculum development. The CI at WKU recruits teachers from China and strategically places them in K-12 institutions throughout the state to extend language and culture classes. An artist-in-residence program enables the CI at WKU’s goal of enhancing understanding and appreciation for the Chinese language and culture.
7. University of South Florida in Tampa, FL
The University of South Florida was the first college in Florida and the first major public research university in the Southeastern U.S. to establish a Confucius Institute.
Net Cost: $9,809
The University of South Florida is a public research university and part of a three-school university system. Its main campus is in Tampa, just a short drive from some of America’s most beautiful beaches. There are also campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. USF enrolls more than 50,000 students and ranks 45th in the nation for research expenditures among all universities, public or private. In 10 percent of USF’s total student population, 128 different countries are represented.
USF established its Confucius Institute in early 2008, partnering with Qingdao University in China. Beginning primarily as a Chinese language center, one of the institute’s goals is to “create a statewide network on educational initiatives related to Chinese language, tourism, trade and sustainable healthy communities.” By 2010, the USF-CI organized the first Florida School Administrators Delegation to China It established Florida’s first Confucius Classroom in 2012.
6. University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT
As a member of the local public or student at the University of Utah, you have access to Chinese language courses with flexible scheduling at a variety of levels and degrees of intensity.
Net Cost: $15,501
The University of Utah is a public space-grant university and the state’s flagship institution, offering more than 100 undergraduate and 90+ graduate degree programs. This college enrolls over 33,000 students and its beautiful campus is set in the picturesque Salt Lake City. Unique programs at Utah include one of the oldest and top ranked ballet and ballroom dance programs in the U.S., as well as a School of Dentistry.
The Confucius Institute (CIUU) was developed through the joint effort and funding of Hanban, then-Governor John Huntsman, Jr. and John Huntsman, Sr. Its partner university in China is the Sichuan University. To promote and extend knowledge and understanding of China’s society, culture and history, CIUU offers programming like films and musical performances, art exhibits and public lectures. For example, the institute has hosted seminars for the business community on topics of relevance to business ventures in China.
5. Troy University in Troy, AL
The first of its kind in Alabama, Troy University established its Confucius Institute as a response to the increasing need for learning Chinese in America.
Net Cost: $16,281
Troy University is a larger public university within the Alabama State University System. You have a plethora of online degree programs through TROY Online, or you can choose from four different beautiful campuses in Troy (main), Montgomery, Dothan and Phenix City. Here you can choose from a wide variety of majors, from digital forensics to global business risk management/insurance or studio arts.
Established in 2007, the Confucius Institute at Troy (CIT) hopes to serve the areas of business, education, cultural and public interests throughout Alabama by “bringing the knowledge of China.” In 2014, Troy’s Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. was the only university chancellor in North America to receive the World Confucius Institute’s Individual Performance Excellence Award. It was given during the World Confucius Institute Conference in Xiamen, China. In 2017, the university received “Confucius Institute of the Year” out of the 525 institutes worldwide. This institute’s goals include offering online and other flexible Chinese language learning courses for students and the general public. It also hopes to be the service provider to American enterprises that are doing or intend to do business with China.
4. The University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, TX
The University of Texas at Dallas received the “Confucius Institute of the Year” award in 2014 from Hanban.
Net Cost: $13,797
The University of Texas at Dallas is a public research university located 18 miles north of downtown Dallas. Made up of eight schools, UT Dallas is a Carnegie R1 classification (Doctoral Universities – Highest research activity) institution. It offers a broad array of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs to its 28,700+ students. With 141 degree programs to choose from and a 25:1 student-faculty ratio, you can earn a personalized degree at a large, innovative university.
The first institute of its kind in Texas, the Confucius Institute at UT Dallas was inaugurated in 2007. With almost 30 percent of undergraduate students identifying as Asian, this Institute offers a valuable resource for UT’s students, as well as its surrounding community. It establishes Confucius Classrooms in local schools to strengthen their Chinese programs. It also trains and certifies Chinese teachers and presents lectures, exhibitions, competitions, camps, artistic performances and more events to help people, on and off-campus, understand China. To promote student health, the Institute offers Tai Chi classes.
3. New Mexico State University in La Cruces, NM
The Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University offers scholarships for college students who are interested in learning how to speak Chinese or working toward a degree to become a Chinese translator or instructor.
Net Cost: $10,235
New Mexico State University is a larger NASA Space-Grant College with a 900-acre main campus, extension offices in each of the state’s 33 counties and 12 agriculture research and science centers. NMSU’s online degree programs and Cooperative Extension Service are two other examples of how the university practices accessibility and reaches those beyond campus. It is classified as a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education. This land-grant university is also a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Inaugurated in 2007, the Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University (NMSU-CI) aims to increase awareness and understanding of Chinese language and culture through the following avenues:
- Study abroad
- A partnership with the Shijiazhuang University of Applied Technology, in Hebei Province, China
- A partnership with Hebei Normal University
NMSU-CI has launched Chinese language classrooms in New Mexico and West Texas. It regularly brings nationally renowned experts on China to campus. It also hosts community-oriented open houses and academic conferences like U.S.-China-Mexico Relations (May 2008) and a China-Africa-U.S. Conference (April 2010).
2. Community College of Denver in Denver, CO
The Confucius Institute at the Community College of Denver offers Chinese language private tutoring, scholarships to study abroad, non-credit drop-in workshops and more.
Net Cost: $10,756
The Community College of Denver offers online certificate and degree programs, a main campus in downtown Denver and two other locations in the metropolitan area. The only community college on this list, CCD puts emphasis on making its programs accessible to underserved first-generation and minority students via its open admissions policy, membership to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, etc. High-schoolers can take advantage of CCD’s dual enrollment programs, and adults can finish education goals through accelerated degree programs and CCD certificates.
The Confucius Institute at CCD opened in 2007, becoming the only center in the world to be housed at a community college. The CICCD focuses on “promoting Chinese language training and intercultural understanding.” It’s supported by the University of Jinan, its partner school in Shandong province, China. A unique program CICCD offers is the faculty exchange program, which sends two faculty members to the University of Jinan for one UJN spring semester.
1. Miami Dade College in Miami, FL
Miami Dade College is the most diverse college in America.
Net Cost: $6,704
Miami Dade College has eight campuses, 23 outreach centers and the largest undergraduate enrollment of all colleges in America. It has the most minority students enrolled of any university in the country. It offers a variety of associate and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as certificates. Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree programs are available in fully online formats. As far as bachelor’s degree programs at MDC go, you can choose from a variety of majors, including the following:
- Electronics engineering
- Early childhood education
Since 2010, the Confucius Institute at MDC (Wolfson campus) has been promoting the study and fuller understanding of Chinese language and culture, locally and abroad. MDC’s Confucius Institute has educational programs offering “innovative Chinese language and culture instructional methods.” This is the only Confucius Institute in the Greater Miami area. It hosts city-wide cultural events that are free to the public and have featured world-class Chinese performance artists. This institute enables you to study abroad at MDC’s sister university, Xuzhou Normal University in China. It’s funded by generous endowments from and partnerships with both American and Chinese organizations.
This article was updated in June 2020.
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