China's Education Ministry has decided to suspend the policy which required Chinese students to pay educational compensation fees to the Chinese government for studying abroad, Beijing Star Daily reported Friday.
Compensation fees collected in the period since Nov. 1 should be refunded, according to the new policy.
In line with the policy adopted by China's State Council last Nov. 1, which canceled some administrative examinations, approvals and fees, China's Education Ministry has decided to simplify the approval procedure for studying abroad and to lift the regulation requiring the payment of a compensation fee from students studying abroad.
During a span of nearly four decades, from 1952 to the late 1990s, most Chinese college students received higher education at almost no cost due to huge government subsidies to universities. In return, upon graduation, students were willing to take whatever jobs were assigned to them by the government.
Since increasing numbers of students studied abroad in the period following the 1980s, China began charging compensation fees in 1990 for those who did not intend to perform service for their country. The fees ranged from several thousand to twenty thousand yuan (about one thousand to three thousand US dollars).
With the rapid development of China's economy, the free education system was increasingly viewed as incompatible with the growth of a market economy. China's colleges and universities began charging tuition fees in 1996, making it unnecessary for students to pay for the right to study abroad.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Personnel, a total of 460,000 Chinese have studied in 103 countries and regions.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2003)