[photopress:students_1.jpg,full,alignright]A Ministry of Education official has said the Chinese government will double its budget for assistance to poor students to RMB20 billion ($2.64 billion U.S. dollars) next year.
This year the central government allocated RMB9.5 billion ($1.25 billion) to student assistance funds, scholarships and relief programs.
He Guangcai, an official from the ministry’s financing department said including student loans and donations from local governments and universities, the fund would total RMB50 billion ($6.59 billion) annually from 2008, covering about four million university students and 16 million in vocational schools.
With the new university year to start next month, the need to assist students from poor families has become a pressing issue.
In the past two decades, most government funding went to scholarships that considered only academic performance, and not financial need. But rising tuition and living costs have become a heavy burden for some Chinese families, especially from rural areas.
This year the government increased the number of beneficiaries of the state charity for poor students, from 533,000, 3%, to 3.49 million, or 20%.
The administration also promised to cut the tuition for poor students and provide more work-study programs.
Source: People’s Daily Online