Poor Chinese student meets mystery sponsor thanks to online payment glitch

Accounting major Yuan Songling was preparing to drop out of her university course because she could not pay the tuition fees, but the kindness of strangers helped her pull through

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2018, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2018, 5:00pm

A final-year accounting student in central China has finally met one of the mystery sponsors of her university education after a glitch in tuition payment system forced the donor to get in contact, Chinese media report.

Yuan Songling defied her impoverished upbringing to gain a place at the Wuhan Institute of Technology in Hubei province in 2015, according to the Chutian Metropolis Daily.

A charity covered her first year of tuition fees, which came to 17,800 yuan (US$2,588), but Yuan did not have enough money for the next year and decided to leave the school and look for a job.

“I felt so desperate when I came to school to complete the procedures to drop out,” she was quoted as saying.

“But my mother is deaf and my father is disabled. I have a brother at primary school. Three more years of tuition fees was just too much for me to manage.”

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Fellow accounting student Li Qiuyu heard about Yuan’s plight and told her family about it. Her father, a successful businessman, was particularly moved by the story and together decided to pay for the rest of Yuan’s education.

“My father was very emotional. He dropped out of school because of poverty when he was young. He didn’t want Yuan Songling to go down his path,” Li said.

“He wanted Yuan Songling could live in sunshine like me and have a better life in future.”

Li asked one of their teachers to help contact Yuan and arrange for money for the fees to be transferred anonymously, the report said.

She said the family did not want Yuan to know their identity because they did not want her to feel any obligation to them.

Li paid the money into an online account at the school in Yuan’s name for two years but could not complete the transaction when she tried to log in to the account cover the fees this year.

Fearing the fees would go unpaid, Li contacted the teacher again and asked her to hand over the money in cash but the teacher refused, saying the amount was too much for her to be responsible for, the report said.

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Li then sent a message to Yuan over WeChat and the two arranged to meet in person.

Yuan said she hoped to find a way to repay the kindness.

Li said she was very nervous about the meeting, fearing it might put much pressure on Yuan.

“We didn’t want such a meeting when we started the donations,” Li said.