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Student left in a limbo
Updated: 2004-08-20 10:06

A high school graduate has been enrolled by a university in northwestern China, but his family is undergoing a harrowing experience to get the admission notice.

A university official, named Xue, promised to give them the notice if the family advanced 20,000 yuan (US$2,400) as "sponsorship fee" required of students who fall short of the mark limit set by the university.

When the needy family went to the Xi'an University of Science and Technology with the money, they were told they should pay an additional 20,000 yuan, the local Huashang Newspaper reported.

The school in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, said Xue was the only person who could solve the problem, but the family couldn't find him as of Wednesday. He was said to be away on business.

The student, identified as Zhang, took the national college entrance examination in early June.

Students on the Chinese mainland usually fill in an application form, stating their choices for potential universities, before the scores are announced. Students list several universities or colleges in the order of preferences.

Before Zhang filled the application, his widowed mother, Yuan, contacted Xue through a friend.

Xue promised to help Zhang, who put Xue's school as his first choice.

Zhang scored 517, but the university's cut-off line was 521.

Many universities charge "sponsorship fees" apart from tuition if applicants miss the cut-off line.

Zhang was enrolled on July 25, as recorded by the provincial university recruitment headquarters.

Xue demanded 20,000 yuan from Zhang to get the admission notice.

On July 29, the family went to the university to pay the 20,000 yuan only to be told that Zhang should pay 40,000.

Yuan filed a written complaint with the provincial Education Department on August 2.

Later a university recruitment official, Li Qiang, said 20,000 yuan would be OK, but Xue had the final say.

The recruitment office told Yuan on August 9 that Zhang's admission notice was with Xue, and asked her to contact him.

She quarreled with Xue, who reportedly demanded Yuan take back the complaint and give a written promise not to complain. After that, Xue said, he would consider giving the notice to Zhang.

Yuan gave a written oath to the university on Monday. But a university deputy president, surnamed Yang, told the family on Wednesday that they should pay before getting the notice.

It was a precautionary measure, Yang said, explaining that some students refused to pay the additional charge once they enter the university. As to the sum, Xue had the final word as he was the family's contact, Yang said.

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