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Student makes e-mail plea for tuition help

An 18-year-old student headed for New York University has received $6,000 from friends of friends of friends who replied to an e-mail plea for money, he says.

The appeal by Max Stephenson of Glen Gardner, N.J., looks like spam, but is not, Time magazine reports.
"I have to come up with big-time cash," the e-mail reads.

He explains his mother is on disability, his father works three jobs, and all his grants and loans cover only half the school's $50,000 annual tab.
So to cover the $25,000 gap, he hopes 10,000 friends of friends of friends will put $2.50 apiece in the mail or send the money via PayPal.

"If you're worried I am one of those Internet rip-off artists, call NYU's admissions office at 212-998-4500," his e-mail says.
More than 2,000 people have responded, Stephenson tells Time -- and only a dozen or so have asked if he's a swindler.

Instead of promising to repay the money, the future sociology major says he will give donors a souvenir.
"If you will send me $2.50 in the next week or so, I will send you a piece of my graduation gown," he promises. "For $3.50, you get a piece of my cap."
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