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February 17, 2012

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Student wins case against cheating study agent

A Chinese undergraduate at the US-based University of Wisconsin-Madison has won a civil lawsuit against a local education information company for cheating her by misrepresenting the school's ranking.

The company, whose name was not revealed, was ordered this week by the Jing'an District People's Court to pay 3,225 yuan (US$512) to Chen Hua, who was then a high school student applying for universities in the United States with the help of the company.

Chen said she signed a consulting contract with the company and paid a 50,000 yuan agent fee in September 2009, under which the company would help her apply for four universities in the United States - Bryn Mawr College, Bard College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The company asked Chen to pay an additional deposit of 250,000 yuan and said it would return some of the money depending on which school selected Chen. If Chen was admitted by a school ranking in the top 35, she would not be returned a penny. But if her school ranked between No. 36 to No. 50, she would be given 8,000 yuan back.

In March 2010, Chen was admitted by University of Wisconsin-Madison, which was ranked No. 35 among American universities in 2009 by US News, a recognized industrial leader in college and grad school rankings, the court heard. The company said it did not return any money to Chen since she was enrolled by a school ranking at No. 35. But Chen said she discovered her school ranking went down to No. 39 in the latest billboard in 2010, also released by US News in August 2009.

At the court, Chen said the company maliciously concealed the truth and cheated her. She also demanded compensation of 9,225 yuan.


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