Temur had a choice. When applying to university in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, he could try to win a scholarship that would cover his expenses and fees, or pay the annual $600 tuition. But there was a third, more practical option, too.
“I paid $100 to the dean to enter the university on a government-funded scholarship [with a monthly living stipend]. This meant I didn’t have to pay $600 per year for five years, so I saved a lot,” said Temur, a 23-year-old a recent graduate who spoke on condition his full name not be printed. “Some get in for free because of good test scores, but I wasn’t sure. That’s why I paid.”
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David Trilling is the Central Asia editor for EurasiaNet.