A national system of subsidies for impoverished students takes shape

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Editor’s Note

This is a summary of an article published by the China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI) of Beijing Normal University on the 26th of November 2018. You can find the original here


At present China’s system for subsidizing students suffering from financial hardship has basically taken shape. On average more than 20% of students around the country are considered to come from families with financial difficulties. In the western areas of China, the percentage rises to 30%.

There are the three major features of the newly established system. First of all the system is very comprehensive, covering everything from preschool to higher education. 31 provinces have cancelled tuition fees and other miscellaneous fees for the period of compulsory education, and provide textbooks and living allowances for boarding students. For what regards high school (which is not compulsory), tuition fees have been cancelled for students who have financial difficulties. Secondly, the funds for subsidising students have increased over the years. From 2012 to 2017, 8,863,660,000,000 yuan were dedicated to subsidies across all educational levels. In 2012 total funds were 1,126,080,000,000 yuan, while in 2017 the figure reached 1,882,140,000,000 yuan, with an increase of 11.19% per year. Thirdly, the number of students who benefit from this system has also increased in recent years. From 2012 to 2017 there were a total of 5,210,000,000 students who received financial aid. In 2012 the number was 841,384,000, while in 2017 the figure had increased to 959,041,000, with an increase of 2.33% per year.

China’s Western regions have the largest amount of students who suffer from economic problems. Because of this, many provinces in this area have started to explore innovative ways to help students. These attempts not only promote the development of educational equality, but also help to solve the problem of poverty. Guangxi province has standardized the management of subsidized funds, and established specific funds to reduce tuition fees. Chongqing has established a student assistance system to spread out the financial burden of helping students with economic difficulties. Yunnan province has established a filing system to collect information on impoverished children, and made detailed plans to help them. Qinghai province has established a funding policy and a security system covering everything from preschool to graduate education. The Ningxia Autonomous Region has extended its funding system for impoverished students to cover the whole region.