College tuition fees set to rise for the first time in 14 years

多省14年首次调整高校学费 最高涨幅超80%

Source: Caixin 财新网, August 8th 2014

Tuition fees for regular colleges and universities are set to rise for the first time in 14 years. Annual tuition fees in many provinces are set to rise from 3000 to 4000 RMB and above, with the highest recorded being Zhejiang’s Engineering and Medicine undergraduate fees, which are set to rise from 3600 to 6670 RMB, an increase of 85.28%, and will affect new students matriculating after 2013. Provinces raising tuition fees include Fujian, Guangxi, Hunan, Shandong, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Guizhou, Zhejiang among others. Academics acknowledge that these proposed increases could be justified by increased administrative expenses, but have called for universities to be be more transparent when accounting for them.

When interviewed, Xiong Bingqi, the deputy director of the 21st Century Research Institute, stated that tuition fees should be proportional to the number of enrolled students and the expenses incurred in tutoring them. As for the amount each student should shoulder, he stated that the international practice was to peg the students’ share of the expenses at 20%, and also to ensure that the yearly tuition fees do not exceed 20% of the average annual household income, since higher tuition fees would pose a disproportionate financial burden for households. In light of this, he expressed concern that this financial problem would arise in several provinces, pointing to Ningxia as an example. In Ningxia, tuition fees are set to rise from 2,600 RMB to 4,400 RMB for liberal arts degrees, and from 2,800 RMB to 4400 RMB for degrees in Medicine and Engineering, resulting in an average tuition fee percentage increase of 62.6%. The average annual household income in Ningxia stands at 14,566 RMB, and the new tuition fees would exceed the ideal of 3,000 RMB (20%) for this income bracket.

Xiong called for local authorities to require financial reports from colleges and universities to justify their proposed tuition fees increase before approving their requests. He also hoped that universities would provide help to those requiring financial assistance.

Details of tuition fees increases in other provinces can be found in the original Chinese article.

Translated by Ming Lee