More than 27,600 university students living under Beijing's poverty line received 48 million yuan (US$6 million) in government subsidies and grants on January 19 to ease their financial burden.
Vice Mayor Yan Junqi (right) presents a scholarship to a needy student at an award ceremony in Shanghai on January 19, 2007.
The beneficiaries, including both national and city-level grants winners, were awarded a one-year subsidy of 1,500 yuan to 4,000 yuan each.
Another nearly 40,000 needy students received a government-guaranteed low-interest loan by the end of last October. About 288 million yuan worth of student loans were given out in Shanghai this year.
"The city government and universities are working out diversified solutions to free all needy students from financial worries," Shen Xiaoming, director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said at the grant-awarding ceremony on January 19.
The commission has required universities to put aside at least 10 percent of its tuition income to give cash grants, scholarships, tuition discounts as well as part-time job subsidies to poor students.
Altogether 16 million yuan in cash grants and 10 million yuan worth of tuition discounts were given out by local universities last year, with 96,266 needy students taking up a part-time job.
A recent survey by the government-sponsored smmail.com indicated that many local residents think universities should teach students to show their thanks for grants, scholarships and other financial assistance.
Some universities do make students perform public service in return for financial aid.
At Donghua University, students who receive grants are required to take part in public service activities -- such as working in the school library or social welfare institutes -- for at least 50 hours each year. Otherwise, they will be disqualified from funding the following year.
(Shanghai Daily January 22, 2007)