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Options for Poor Students

Figures from the Ministry of Education indicate that about 2.63 million college students in China suffer from poverty, accounting for 19 percent of the total of 13.5 million students enrolled. Among them, 1.22 million are categorized as "extremely poor" students. However, there are solutions:

The "Green Passage" programme, in which poor students may enrol and defer tuition payments, helped 290,000 new students enrol on time last year.

State scholarships, which were set up in 2002, annually give out 200 million yuan (US$24.69 million) to 50,000 poor students with outstanding academic achievements who are attending public colleges. Each of these students receives 4,000 yuan (US$493.82) every year.

State grants, which total 800 million yuan (US$98.77 million) annually, will be issued to 533,000 poor students from public colleges starting from this month. Each student will receive a monthly subsidy of 150 yuan (US$18.52).

The State loan system, introduced in 2000, has aided 1.53 million college students by issuing 12.25 billion (US$1.51 billion) in interest-free loans. Students from impoverished families who have certifications of their family backgrounds issued by the local authorities are qualified to apply.

Scholarships and grants offered by individual schools, tuition waivers and the work-study programmes under which poor students help out in libraries, teachers' offices or service departments to earn money are also available. The ministry regulations stipulate that at least 10 per cent of the tuition fees collected every year by each school should be used to help poor students.

(China Daily September 22, 2005)

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