The end of a government-imposed five-year ban on university tuition fee rises has seen annual fees for some degrees rise by up to 50% this year in China, official sources have reported. Education authorities in 10 provinces have ‘renewed’ university and college tuition fee guidelines, China’s official radio reported last Tuesday.
In some cases the fee rises are the first in almost a decade or even longer as some provinces had frozen fees prior to the government’s 2007 ban. The ban on fee rises was an attempt to rein in the over-expansion of universities. The total debt of Zhejiang's public higher education institutions had risen to CNY9.5 billion (US$1.5 billion) as of the end of 2013, official statistics showed.
Zhejiang provincial guidelines have set tuition fees for medicine and engineering degrees at top universities in the province to increase to CNY6,300 (US$1,025) per year from the current CNY4,800 (US$781) – an increase of just over 30%. Smaller institutions would be allowed to charge CNY5,800, up 46% from the current CNY3,960 for some subjects.
“Those funds need to cover teachers' salaries, establish laboratories and purchase equipment. To make up the shortfall, the universities have repeatedly asked to raise tuition,” Wang was quoted in the official China Daily as saying. Other provinces including Shandong and Fujian have already approved fee rises of 20% to 36% this year.