Beijing reintroduced grant aid for poor high school students in September after a policy revision made by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and Beijing Finance Bureau and published on the education commission's website on October 10.
Poor students from families at or around the minimum living standard, orphans and children of people recognized as heroes for giving their lives to save others and similar reasons are all entitled to the grant. Based on this principle, different districts and counties can set up their own requirements in line with their own economic development and living standards.
The grant, funded by the municipal and district or county financial budget, is set at two levels: 100 yuan (US$12.37) and 60 yuan (US$7.42) per month per person.
Students from families at the minimum living standard can enjoy the 100 yuan grant and their tuition fees are remitted. Boarding students can also be exempted from boarding fees.
Students from families with economic conditions slightly higher than the minimum can receive the 60 yuan grant. Districts and counties can also offer them a partial or total tuition and boarding fee waiver.
The grant is sent to students for 10 months every year and is also offered to children of heroes and orphans without income during summer and winter vacations.
Students who apply for the 100 yuan grant need to submit the minimum living standard certification issued by civil affairs departments. Those who apply for the 60 yuan grant must hand in applications with verifications from street and town offices where their families live. Schools will send the grant to students after examination and approval of their applications.
Beijing introduced pilot regulations on grant aid in compulsory education in 1997, but it only covered junior high school and elementary school students.
In recent years, high school education has expanded rapidly and the proportion of poor students has risen accordingly.
Now Beijing has 162,426 people on the minimum living guarantee. Before the new policy, districts and counties provided temporary grants to poor students, but there was no uniform practice.
(China.org.cn by Yuan Fang, October 14, 2005)