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Special grants offered to poor students
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-30 06:12

A special State grant that totals 800 million yuan (US$98.77 million) every year will be issued to poverty-stricken college students starting from next month.

Students of a village school in Central China's Hunan Province are seen at class in this picture taken on April 4, 2005. [newsphoto/file]
Officials from the Ministry of Education added that children in rural China will start to enjoy a free nine-year compulsory education before 2010.

The grant, allocated by the central government, is to help cover basic living expenses for 533,000 poor students from public colleges. Each student will receive a monthly subsidy of 150 yuan (US$18.52), said Zhang Baoqing, vice-minister of education.

The regulation stipulates that any students who apply for the grant must come from extremely poor families, and certificates of their family background issued by the local authorities are needed.

The standards for determining exactly who qualifies vary from province to province.

Ministry figures indicate that about 2.63 million college students in China suffer from poverty, accounting for 19 per cent of the total 13.5 million students. Among them, 1.22 million are categorized as "extremely poor" students.

Zhang stressed the central government's commitment to helping college students from impoverished families. "We set up in 2002 a State scholarship that annually gives out 200 million yuan (US$24.69 million) to poor students with outstanding academic achievements," Zhang said, adding that 50,000 students receive the scholarship every year.
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