Meet Your Neighbor: Kevin Ferrone, Hill Resident with Strong Personal & Professional Ties to China

Kevin Ferrone, Manager, Program Development for "CIEE."

By Carol McCracken (Post # 893)

One of the challenges of American colleges and universities is to find students who can pay the full tuition rather than the reduced rate that in-state students pay. That’s why admissions counselors are looking to Chinese students to fill that revenue gap. With a booming economy and because Chinese famililes often band together to pool their resources in support of one college bound student, American admissions counselors are looking to China to fill that revenue gap, said Kevin Ferrone, Manager, Program Development for the Council on International Educational Exchange (“CIEE”), whose world headquarters is located at 300 Fore Street, Portland. That’s were we chatted.

However, US institutions do not have the resources to place recruiters overseas for careful screening. Consequently, fraud and other surprises may happen by the time the Chinese student arrives in the US. Ferrone, who until earlier this year had lived in China for five years, has initiated a program for the non-profit CIEE that garners more information about each student with overseas interviews to assure that admissions’ officers have no surprises when Chinese students arrive on campus in the US. CIEE sees this as an opportunity to continue its mission to encourage educational exchanges and one that Chinese students are willing to pay for. It’s not an inexpensive service for students to pay, but they typically pay between $5,000. and $40,000 in costs associated with entry into US colleges. However, Ferrone would not reveal CIEE’s charge to the students for this specialized service. A second similar program is in the pipeline for next year.

“I’ve lived in 9 different cities in 4 countries and of all those, I felt safest living in China,” said Ferrone, 28 years old. “It was also the friendliest. It’s the best place I’ve lived. Education is globalizing. We should engage the Chinese.” MHN.com had arrived armed for the interview with an article in the September issue of “The Atlantic” magazine detailing China’s crack-down of on-line use by its citizens. It’s press like this that creates a culture of “fear”, much like the Cold War between the US and Russia, said Ferrone disapprovingly of the article.

Ferrone lives on the Hill with his Chinese wife and twin sons Luke and Brin. His wife, Amy, (Wang Weijia) and sons arrived in the US in mid-August and a week later she began teaching Chinese at Waynflet School. Their sons, l l/2 years old, attend day care on the Hill; they were born in upstate New York where Ferrone is from. Ferrone, a graduate of Brown University, is working on his Master’s Degree – on-line.

“Portland is a lovely city in which to raise children,” Ferrone said.