MOE held a press conference to present progress on the provision of student financial aid [Photo/Zhang Jinsong]
On September 6, the MOE held a press conference to present progress that had been made on the provision of student financial aid nationwide before the start of the 2018 autumn semester. The press briefing was hosted by the MOE spokeswoman XU Mei and attended by ZHAO Jianjun, Vice Director of the MOE’s Department of Finance; TIAN Zuyin, Director of the National Center for Student Financial Aid (NCSFA); MA Jianbin, Vice Director of the NCSFA; CHAO Bin, Vice Director of the Regional Development Bureau under the Department of Poverty Relief Program Finance, China Development Bank; JIN Ge, Deputy Inspector of Shandong Provincial Education Department; and ZHENG Qinghua, Vice President of Xi’an Jiaotong University.
Zhao said that a student financial aid system had been established to assist economically disadvantaged students at all levels of education (from preschool education through to postgraduate education), in both state-run and private schools, to ensure that no single student is forced to drop out because of family financial difficulties.
He then introduced the different methods and programs designed for channeling aid to students, depending on their level in education: At preschool level, children from families facing financial difficulty are eligible for a combination of local government grant payments and central government subsidies. At the compulsory education level, students from both rural and urban areas are exempted from paying tuition and school fees and are provided with free textbooks; living allowances are provided to boarders from poor families; and a nutrition improvement plan has also implemented. Disadvantaged senior high school students have been able to stay in school thanks largely to state grants, free tuition and exemption from school fees. At secondary vocational education level, free tuition and state grants have been provided to poor students. A multiplicity of support programs have been made available for college students, including state scholarships and loans, on-campus part-time job opportunities, tuition waivers, support for freshmen, and a Green Channel (deferred payment of tuition) for freshmen. Numerous support programs were also available for postgraduate students from modest backgrounds, including state scholarships and grants, and allowances for those who work as research, teaching or administrative assistants.
He added that, in 2017, 95.90 million students received financial aid with total investment in this scheme reaching 188.2 billion RMB, marking increases of 22% and 92% over 2011, respectively. Over the past six years, 0.52 billion students have received financial aid representing an overall investment in this program of 886.4 billion RMB. Student financial aid has become a major part of government spending aimed at raising living standards for the people.
Tian presented the various measures that the NCSFA has adopted to ensure the complete implementation of the student aid system and several case studies of schools that have experimented with new approaches aimed at streamlining related work, such as use of big data.
By August 31, 3.84 million students from poor families had received student loans for a total contract amount of 27.5 billion RMB, surpassing the total volume in loans of 2016 and 2017 together. According to incomplete statistics, as some schools are still in the process of welcoming in the new semester, by September 4, the total number of freshmen enrolled through the Green Channel was 168,000.
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