May 16, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

For students who formerly had little to no chance of making it into China’s best universities, there’s hope.  A sweeping change to China’s higher education system has allowed many of China’s rural poor students the same university opportunities once afforded only to China’s wealthiest. 

On April 14, the Chinese Ministry of Education directed top universities to enroll 10 percent more disadvantaged students—students from rural or poor backgrounds—in 2017.

This move follows several preceding ones.  In 2014, students from rural areas were allowed admission with lower test scores.  A related program found university places for 183,000 students from poor counties in 2015.

What does this mean?  In China, a child’s academic and potential future financial success can uproot an entire family from poverty.

What else has China done to ensure that the rural poor have access to top-notch education?  Some universities have made application processes more streamlined and accessible.  Other have offered financial support, in the form of grants and financial aid.

Still others offer one-to-one career guidance services for rural and poor students at universities. 

The Chinese government has also undertaken efforts to improve rural education in impoverished areas, so more students can attend university.  Rural areas are trying to attract more talented teachers by providing additional living stipends, and other enticements.

Learn more about studying in China. 

 

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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