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Charity Aids Needy Students

A charity is struggling to raise 20.002 million yuan (US$ 2.41 million) needed for 10,001 needy college students before their enrollment day Sept. 1.

Since early July, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFFPA) has been trying to raise the money through the New Great Wall program, a relief program to provide assistance to needy college students, but it has raised only 7 million yuan (US$845,737).

“There are only 10 days left but we still have 13 million yuan (US$1.57 million) to raise, which means 6,000 needy students are still waiting for the money for their basic subsistence,” Li Li, a CFFPA official in charge of the program, said.

Ye Dawei, an official in charge of the volunteers working on the program, hoped the deadline could be extended.

Statistics show that 20 percent of the nation’s 16 million college students are from needy families who struggle to pay fees that have been rising since the country launched a reform of its higher education system in the mid 1990s.

A college student in the 1980s paid only several hundred yuan a year for fees, but today, annual college fees generally range from 3,500 yuan (US$422) to 5,000 yuan (US$604).

He Jianming, an author known for his writings on the disadvantaged, said it was impossible for needy families to afford such high fees for their children on their own.

The Ministry of Education has pledged that this year, no students who have been enrolled by universities will be excluded from universities because of lack of money.

The donation hotline for the New Great Wall program is 86-10-6261-1023 and 86-10-6261-5766.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2003)

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