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Loan Applications Go Online

China's Guangdong Province will open a Website Wednesday for needy students to apply for education loans, a provincial college education conference was told Tuesday.

The conference was told that education loans were already available for the province's 59 higher-learning institutes, including 18 vocational schools and three private schools.

As of July this year, more than 26,000 students had obtained loans totaling 343 million yuan (US$41 million). The government has provided 4.68 million yuan in interest subsidies.

But the figure represented only half the number of needy students who had applied, the conference was told.

A college student requires at least 8,000 yuan for a school year, including tuition and accommodation, but the average annual income of rural residents in Guangdong was only about 4,000 yuan. The annual income of some farmers in underdeveloped areas is only about 2,000 yuan.

Vice Governor Li Ronggen told the conference that the government would set aside money for education loans. Private schools will receive the same interest subsidies as public schools.

The government would set aside 10 percent of the total tuition fees as subsidies for needy students, Li said.

In another development, the nation made some changes to the original education loan policy.

Students will have to pay off their loans in six years instead of four years, an extension of two years. The government will continue to provide interest subsidies to students pursuing post-graduate studies.

While they are at school, students will receive subsidies totaling 100 percent of the interest instead of 50 percent.

(Shenzhen Daily September 8, 2004)

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