Some mainland universities are shouldering dangerous levels of debt to fund enrolment expansion programmes, a top education official has warned. Vice-Minister of Education Zhang Baoqing said that because the central government required tertiary institutions to enrol larger numbers of students, many universities were using bank loans to fund campus building programmes. 'The bank loans of a few universities have reached alarming levels,' he told People.com on Wednesday. 'To rein in debt volumes, universities directly under the ministry have had to gain ministry approval for bank loans since last year.' Mr Zhang said despite a rapid expansion of universities, there was still a shortage of more than 10,000 classrooms and laboratories throughout the country. And 5 million or 6 million extra students in the system had created a 140-million-square-metre shortfall in dormitory space. 'Universities need greater infrastructure. If they don't get it, students will have nowhere to go,' he said. Mr Zhang said most borrowing had been brought under control by banning use of school assets as loan collateral and limiting the life of any loan to the fixed term served by school officials.