Wealthy Chinese undergraduates aren't the only ones looking to get a college degree in the U.S. So are a growing number of Chinese students from lower middle-class families who are enrolling in community colleges.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/1Izy7sq ) that while thousands of Chinese students from affluent families enroll in U.S. colleges each year, the number from less privileged backgrounds also has begun to rise.

The number of Chinese students in U.S. community colleges has risen from 2,500 in 2007 to more than 16,200. Many of those students are searching for an alternative to China's high-pressure and overcrowded educational system.

Los Angeles community colleges host a large percent of those students. In China, intermediary agencies are marketing U.S. community colleges as a stepping stone to a four-year university.