GENEROUS donors have sent outstanding student Po Tak-chi $30,000 to continue his schooling, but the Social Welfare Department will not let him use a cent to ease the family's hardship. The Po family have been relying on $5,000 a month from the department since their father died of a heart attack, leaving their mother to bring up three sons alone. The family's plight was reported in the South China Morning Post last month when Tak-chi, 17, became the only student in Kowloon to achieve 10 A grade HKCEEs but faced an uncertain future because of a lack of funds to continue his schooling. Readers then donated $30,000. But unless the money is donated specifically for Tak-chi's education, the department will deduct the amount from the family's benefit. Tak-chi's studies at La Salle College, where he is starting Form Six mathematics, are covered by welfare, so the money lies idle in his bank account while his family struggles. Mrs Po has $3,900 a month left for essentials after paying $1,100 for their flat in Sha Tin. 'We don't spend money unless it is absolutely necessary, such as for food and clothing,' she said. A Sha Tin social welfare office spokesman said: 'All donations should be to award Tak-chi's academic achievement, but not to cover his living expenses. Otherwise, we have to deduct the amount from the family's allowance because their financial difficulty has been lessened.' He said anyone giving the family a certain amount of money without explicitly indicating the purpose would be deemed as supporting the family financially. Among the seven donors, four sent cheques directly to La Salle College, a bank presented a $5,000 cheque to him and two delivered their cheques (totalling $12,500) via the Post. Tak-chi has written to all the donors thanking them for their generosity. 'I really appreciate the donors' intention to help me out, but I feel very uncomfortable about the money,' he said. He said he would use the money when his education benefit runs out in June. 'I would like to study mechanical or electric engineering at a Hong Kong university and work as an engineer in Hong Kong,' he said.