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Student wins lawsuit over a US college ranking

A Chinese student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, has won a lawsuit against a Shanghai education service company for cheating, the Jing'an District People's Court said yesterday.

The company, whose name was not revealed, was ordered to pay 3,225 yuan (US$512) to Chen Hua, who applied for admission to American universities through the company when she was a high school student.

Chen said she paid the company 50,000 yuan as agent service fee in September 2009. The company was supposed to help her enter any of four universities -- Bryn Mawr College, Bard College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The company also asked Chen to pay 250,000 yuan in deposit and said they would return some of the money depending on which school she got into. If Chen was admitted by a school ranked 35th or higher on the US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, she would not get any refund. If her school ranked below 35th place, she would get 8,000 yuan back.

In March 2010, Chen was enrolled by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which ranked 35th on the 2009 list and was recognized as a leading university with excellent graduate programs, the court heard.

The company said it did not return any money to Chen since she was enrolled by a school ranked at No. 35. But Chen said she discovered her school ranking dropped to 39th place in the 2010 billboard, also released by the same magazine in August 2009.

In the court, Chen said the company maliciously concealed the truth and cheated her about the school ranking. She demanded 9,225 yuan as compensation. But the company insisted that it did not violate the contract.

The court said Chen would not intend to choose a low-rank school to demand money back and it was also impossible for Chen to know which school would offer her a seat.

The court ruled that the company must pay 3,225 yuan to Chen for making a fault in the contract.


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