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HK Universities Draw Top Mainland Students
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Universities in Hong Kong have witnessed a sudden spurt in popularity on the mainland, as more students who achieved maximum scores at this year's National College Entrance Examinations (NCEE) are choosing to attend university in Hong Kong instead of prestigious mainland universities like Qinghua University and Beijing University.

Media reports said over the weekend that the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has enrolled four students from Guangdong, Jiangxi, Shandong provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region who scored full marks at the NCEE. The CUHK has also enrolled many other outstanding high school graduates on the mainland who scored high marks at the NCEE. In Guangxi, students who gained admission to CUHK all rank among the top one percent of students appearing for the entrance examination.

The cost of four years' tuition for a mainland student at a Hong Kong university is about HK$400,000 (US$51,282); however, almost all Hong Kong universities promise scholarships for top mainland students. To enroll Zhou Xiaotian, the highest scorer in Sichuan Province, the University of Hong Kong offered her a scholarship of 580,000 yuan (US$72,500).

The four full-mark scorers who have gained admission to the CUHK said they chose a Hong Kong university because the city is rich in teaching resources, boasts an international environment and their experience in Hong Kong will be helpful to their future study abroad and career development.

However, not every student is impressed by Hong Kong's apparent advantages. Gao Yang from Yunnan Province, who achieved the maximum score at the NCEE, turned down an offer from a Hong Kong university. "Studying at Beijing University has been my dream since childhood."

Some college officials on the mainland and in Hong Kong think what the universities on the mainland are facing is not just competition from universities in Hong Kong but competition on a worldwide scale. "It's only natural for China to face competition for its high school students from all over the world," said Lawrence Lau, Chancellor of the CUHK.

"All the universities will join in this competition," Lau said. "Judging from this perspective, we are on the same frontline as Stanford University."

(Shenzhen Daily July 17, 2006)

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