Government aid provides new opportunities for students

By Zou Shuo | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-02 07:18
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New students arrive at Zhejiang University on Aug 16, accompanied by their parents. About 10 percent of the more-than 6,000 freshmen at the school have received financial aid from the State. PAN HAISONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Authorities honor vow that poverty will not force people to drop out of school. Zou Shuo reports from Lanzhou.

Born into a "dirt poor" family in a small village in mountainous Beichuan Qiang autonomous county, Sichuan province, Duan Zhixiu never imagined she would have the opportunity to go to university.

"Since I was a little girl, my parents told me they were willing to sell everything in the house to send me to a good university, but I knew that even if they sold everything, it would still not be enough," she said.

Duan's parents are farmers, and they had difficulty paying her tuition fees from primary school onward.

Beichuan, which was only removed from a national list of impoverished counties last year, was one of the places most severely hit by the magnitude 8 earthquake that struck Wenchuan, about 120 kilometers from the county, in 2008. Duan lost a leg in the disaster.

After the quake, her family became even poorer, and she could only resume her studies thanks to government assistance that meant she was given a monthly subsidy of 300 yuan ($44) and did not have to pay tuition fees.

The 27-year-old is one of millions of students in China who have received financial aid from the government to help them climb as far up the education ladder as they wish.

In 2007, the country established a national financial aid system for impoverished college students, higher-level vocational students and secondary vocational students.

Meanwhile in 2011, with support from schools, public donations and greater official investment, a government-led financial aid system was established for students from preschool to postgraduate-level education.

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