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'Get a job and show me the money,' university tells poor students
By Guan Xiaomeng (Chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2005-12-23 16:58

It is fairly common for poorly off students to quit or temporarily leave school due to their or their parents' decision, with the regretful looks of their teachers and classmates. But this time, in Northwest China, some have to quit school on the decision of their university -- for not fully paying their tuition.

Lanzhou Institute of Technology in Lanzhou, capital city of Northwest China's Gansu Province, asked students failing to pay their tuition before a November 23 deadline to "take a leave of absence" from campus, or face possible expulsion, the Western Economic Daily reported.

According to the report, more than 20 students of that university have been informed that they must temporarily leave campus because of "overdue" payment. A university official claimed that the school did so to give the students "chances" to find a part-time job to repay the money as soon as possible so they are allowed to return.

However, according to the state policy, efforts should be made through possible channels to ensure the campus entrance of poor students, while universities must enroll the poor students before dealing with tuition issues.

A rural student, whose parents resorted to selling corn to pay for his 2,100-yuan (US$260) annual tuition, missed the Nov. 23 deadline. He got suspended and received a "disciplinary warning."

The student is the third child of the family. His parents have gone into heavy debt for their three sons. "They (the university) deducted 1,000 yuan from the 2,100 yuan my parents sent me for accommodation fees, so I still needed another 900 yuan for my tuition despite the in-time money sent by my parents," he said. The total fee (tuition plus accommodation) was more than 3,000 yuan, so the money the student's parents sent him was about 1,000 yuan short).

The poor student went out to earn money in his spare time but still failed to get the full 900-yuan amount before deadline.

Another suspended student received the money from his parents just on the morning of the deadline day. The university took the 1,000-yuan accommodation fee when the money arrived and it was on the morning of the next day that the student managed to collect another 1,485 yuan, meaning he had also missed the deadline.

In justifying the suspension, a university official explained that the students now owe too much money (about 30 million yuan) and the university is bearing a heavy financial burden.

For this reason, the university has adopted a so-called flexi school system ranging from 3 to 6 years, according to the official. Those who have got the demanded credits and are not in debt are allowed to leave campus in 3 years while those who fail in either will leave within 6 years. During the 6 years, in-debt students are given "chances" to repay their debt by being given "time-off" from campus for part-time jobs.

With regard to students' loans, the official added there were too many restrictions by the loan systems. Loans are not accessible to freshmen and those who do poorly in their subjects.

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