BEIJING – The University of Hong Kong has attracted 11 students from mainland provinces who achieved top scores in the national college entrance exam this year, almost double the number in 2010.
The offers no longer give priority to students from first-rate cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but also cover the central and western regions of the mainland, the University of Hong Kong announced on Saturday.
For the first time, the university has opened its enrollment plan for students from the Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.
More than 165 high school students from those areas have applied to the Hong Kong university this year.
The university has received applications from the top-scorers from Guangdong, Anhui and Yunnan provinces and the Tibet autonomous region.
The new students at the university will also include three top-scorers in liberal arts from Beijing, and four top-scorers in both liberal arts and science from Shanghai and Hunan province.
The University of Hong Kong started enrolling mainland students in 2000, and has been expanding the program in recent years.
It received 10,362 applications from mainland students, which is an increase of 14.8 percent on the numbers last year.
However, only 300 mainland students will be able to study at the University of Hong Kong, which means one winner for every 34 applicants in 2011.
The number of applicants from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all increased by more than 1,000 this year.
“Economics and finance are no longer the only popular major choices for mainland students,” the official in charge of mainland affairs for the University of Hong Kong told the Beijing Morning Post.
For example, two top-scorers in liberal arts from Beijing chose to study media and social science. One preferred the double-bachelor degree course in business management and law.
“I am impressed by Liang Qian, who chose social science, and I believe she has good insights and an independent spirit,” the official said.
The University of Hong Kong provides 30 students from the mainland with full scholarships up to HK$160,000 ($20,560) a year.
The University of Hong Kong has also offered a place to Liang Siqi, the top-scorer in science in Beijing.
He will choose between Peking University, the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the report in the Beijing Morning Post on Sunday.
“Although the tuition fee increased from HK$5,000 to HK$20,000 this year, it is still cheaper than in the United States or Britain,” Wang Ling, a 45-year-old Beijing resident, said.
“The Western style of education in Hong Kong might be a better investment for my son when he is job-hunting in the future,” she said.
Fierce fight for students
Two of Shanghai’s leading universities are involved in a fierce dispute over alleged poaching of talented students, as competition among universities on the Chinese mainland continues to intensify.
On July 1, the Shanghai-based Fudan University said on its website and micro blog that a teacher from one of Shanghai’s universities had pretended to be from Fudan University and tried to persuade students to change their choice to his university.
Fudan University said it has received reports about irregular practices from students and parents from Yunnan, Guangdong and Hubei provinces and Ningxia Hui autonomous region. The university has criticized these practices.
Although the statement did not mention the name of the university, netizens said it alluded to Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University denied this and responded on its official micro blog that “the related media reports hurt the university’s reputation badly”, and that it “reserves the right to claim the legal responsibilities”.
So far, discussions and disputes about the two prestigious universities continue online.