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Beijing Sets Ceiling to College Tuition Fees
The Beijing Municipal Government has set a ceiling to the city's college and university tuition fees so that higher education are accessible and remains within the reach of students from homes with limited incomes.

According to a circular issued jointly by the Beijing Municipal Prices Bureau, Finances Bureau and Education Commission, ordinary colleges and universities in the Chinese capital must keep their annual tuition fees between 4,200 to 6,000 RMB yuan (US$525-750), the Beijing Youth Daily reports.

Tuition fees for students taking ordinary majors in major universities should not exceed the sum of 4,200 yuan (US$525) a year, whereas "key universities" with the approval of leading education departments, will be allowed to charge up to 5,000 yuan (US$600), the circular said.

"Sought-after majors" like science, engineering, foreign languages studies and medical studies can be charged higher, but the maximum charge must not exceed 6,000 yuan (US$750).

Currently, local sources noted, various specialities at the four most prestigious universities in Beijing, namely, Tsinghua University, Peking University, the People's University of China, and Beijing Teachers University, have all agreed to set their tuition fees at 4,800 yuan (US$600) per year.

In a span of nearly four decades from 1952 to the early 1990s, most Chinese college students received free higher education because of huge government subsidies to universities. In return, the students were willing to take whatever jobs they were assigned by the government upon graduation. However, in the early 1990s, this system was deemed "incompatible with the growth of a market economy," and Chinese colleges and universities began charging tuition fees.

To date, quite a number of Chinese college students and their parents, especially those from the outlying, relatively poor rural areas and the urban needy families, are finding the ever-increasing tuition fees a burden too heavy to bear.

(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2002)

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