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Ministry: All Freshmen from Quake Zones in College

All eligible freshmen from areas hit by the May 12 earthquake have enrolled in colleges and universities around the nation with government assistance, China's Ministry of Education said on Monday.

For students from families left financially vulnerable as a result of the 8.0-magnitude quake, "special green channels" were opened to enable them to enter college without having to pay fees. Some were even given financial support according to government regulations," the ministry said.

The ministries of finance and education issued directives that impoverished students from the worst-hit areas would be exempt from tuition and boarding fees. For freshmen, the government would also offer basic living subsidies, packages of daily necessities and school supplies, and part-time job opportunities.

According to the Ministry of Education, the colleges also phoned every freshman in quake-hit areas to learn their family situation and give them encouragement. They offered subsidies for students' travel expenses and provided counseling for those in need.

The quake, which struck southwest Sichuan and neighboring provinces, left more than 80,000 dead or missing, according to the latest official figures. It was the worst quake to hit China in more than three decades.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2008)

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