Hike in college tuition fees not justified

Updated: 2014-08-16 09:38

By Yang Ziman(China Daily)

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Many observers have said the recent dramatic increase in university tuition fees is "irrational" and "harmful"to students from low-income families, especially because higher fees don't mean better quality education.

From the second half of 2013 to June 2014, universities in eight of the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland increased their tuition fees by about 50 percent. The latest to do so are the four universities in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, which have raised their yearly tuition fees from an average 3,725 yuan ($605) to 5,425 yuan, that is, by 45.6 percent. In some provinces and regions, the university tuition fees are more than 20 percent of the local urban per capita income.

The race to increase tuition fees started right after the five-year government moratorium on raising university fees expired. The government order, imposed in 2007, forbid universities from raising the tuition fees from the 2006 level.

Liu Haifeng, dean of the Institute of Education at Xiamen University in Fujian province, says that since the economy has grown dramatically and there has been a healthy increase in people's incomes over the past few years, the old fees structure doesn't make sense.

But the new fees structure should not be set arbitrarily, says Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of 21st Century Research Institute. For one, universities have to become more transparent with their budgets and management. Most importantly, unlike what has happened in Ningxia, students should not be made to bear all the rising costs.

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