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To Be Poor or Rich, Not a Question for College Entrance

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Chinese college freshmen of this year, mostly born in early 1990s, are registering for the fall semester beginning in September, of whom some applied a school loan while others drive a car to school.

Nineteen-year-old Ma Tianlan drove a Ford to the Beijing-based North China University of Technology (NCUT) for registration, among his belongings were a cell phone, a laptop, a digital camera and a MP4 player.

But 18-year-old Zou Yifan who was enrolled by the Jiangxi Bluesky University in central China only carried a woven bag with all stuff for study and living in college. And she only had 2,000 yuan (293 US dollars), far from enough for the school's tuition fee of 5,000 yuan (US$732).

Zou managed to finish the registration as the school gave "green passes" to students from poor families and would reduce their tuition fees.

Experts said the gap between the rich and the poor could be widening in the generation of 1990s, but both the poor and the rich deserved college education without discrimination.

Wang Donglin, director of the Institute of Culture, Jiangxi Normal University, said the phenomenon of wealth gap would be getting more obvious after the generation of 1990s entered into college.

"Most students born in 1990s belong to the one-child generation. Many of them are well tended by the society and parents, while some come from poor families in rural areas. The wealth gap could be a challenge both for them and for colleges," Wang said.

"No matter what kind of families they come from, college students should be aware that very one has the chance to read books, accumulate knowledge, and take part in activities. It's where the real competition starts," Wang said.

Jin Canrong, a professor from the Beijing-based Renmin University, also said the generation of 1990s should prove themselves through their own achievements.

"What kind of a generation they are? It's up to them but not their family backgrounds," Jin said.

In NCUT, many freshmen were accompanied by their parents, but Ma told Xinhua he drove to the school alone.

"My parents work for foreign companies and I don't have to worry about money. But I want to be independent, and my parents have faith in me," Ma said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2009)

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