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Poverty Leaves College Students Laden with Psychological Problems
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College students coming form low-income families in China are more likely to carry psychological problems, a latest survey found.


The survey, released by China Youth Development Foundation, was based on its recent research after polling 400 university students in Beijing whose families had financial difficulties.


Nearly 70 percent of the impoverished students came from the countryside.


According to the survey, 60 percent of the polled students said they felt "utterly shamed" for being poor, and 22.5 percent of them had very low self-esteem, as they frequently considered themselves "inferior" to others.


"They were reluctant to let others know they were poor and refused to accept even goodwill compassion from their teachers and classmates," the survey said.


Observers say students from low-income families are just as likely to be proud of their family and the their communities. But in schools, they can feel the additional pressure for their economic status among the peers, as they probably cannot afford frequent hang-outs and many other activities.


The survey said 40 percent of students from low-income families were less enthusiastic about ex-curriculum activities and 20 percent of them held "bias and negative" opinions on the society.


In China, families have to pay at least 8,000 yuan (US$1,000) every year to support a college student, which means the farmers have to spend years of their income to support a college student.


And there are roughly 5 million college students who need financial aids at present, the survey estimated.


China introduced a pilot state education loan system in 1999, and by the end of 2005, state loans had reached 2.068 million college students by issuing 17.27 billion yuan, official figures indicated.


In fact, most of the college-to-be with poor family background even give up their future study, as they cannot afford their first-year tuition and fees.


In another survey made by CYDF, 59.9 percent of the surveyed 320 students said they don't have enough money for their first-year study in college, and 87 percent said the tuition will surely pose more pressure to their already penniless families.


The survey reported that 12.7 percent respondents said they will give up studying for lacking of money.


Among the students polled, 81 percent said the university tuition was higher than the whole family's income, another 10.2 percent said education expenses took up 79.8 percent of the family income.


About 82.3 percent of the families were impoverished for funding a child for university studies, the survey said.


Children's education has always been given much weight in the eyes of Chinese parents, especially the poor, who consider diploma as a fast and safe road to earn wealth and social recognition.


According to the survey, 80.3 percent of the poor students regarded entering university as a "turning point for life" that could lift their families out of poverty.


Nearly half of the polled students from the countryside said they would become migrant workers if they failed in the college entrance exam while only a friction of them said they would stay for farming.


(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2006)

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