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September 2, 2009

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Wealth gap no deterrent to college hopes

THIS year's college entrants, mostly born in early 1990s, are registering for the fall semester beginning in September and they exemplify the gap between rich and poor.

Nineteen-year-old Ma Tianlan drove his car to the Beijing-based North China University of Technology to register. Among the things he brought with him were a cell phone, a laptop, a digital camera and an MP4 player.

But 18-year-old Zou Yifan, who was enrolled by the Jiangxi Bluesky University in east China's Jiangxi Province, only had a woven bag with all she needed for study and life in college. And she only had 2,000 yuan (US$293) with her, far less than the school's tuition fees of 5,000 yuan.

But Zou managed to register as the school gave "green passes" to students from poor families and reduced their tuition fees.

Experts say 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 of Jiangxi Normal University, said the phenomenon of wealth gap would be getting more obvious after the generation of 1990s entered college.

"Most students born in 1990s belong to the one-child generation. Many of them are well tended by 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 everyone 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 of China, also said the generation of 1990s should prove themselves through their own achievements.

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


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