Program to pay HK students to study on mainland
Students from Hong Kong who are admitted to mainland higher education institutions will be eligible for subsidies of up to HK$15,000 ($1,935) in the special administrative region’s first official initiative of its kind.
The initial three-year phase of the HK$113 million Mainland University Study Subsidy Plan will help students who pass a means test.
The plan is one of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s 2014 policy pledges — to provide “broader and more diversified further study options” outside the city.
Admission to the program will exempt students from having to take the Joint Entrance Examination for Universities on the mainland, leaving them free to focus exclusively on the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination.
“The program will encourage more Hong Kong students to study on the mainland, especially those who wish to attend prestigious universities,” said Sunny Lo of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
“This will also broaden students’ options and horizons, allowing them to understand the country in a much deeper and more comprehensive manner.”
A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Education Bureau said: “The admission criteria and list of participating institutions have been formulated with a view to safeguarding the quality and interests of students.”
Mainland university tuition fees range from 4,000 yuan ($648) to 10,000 yuan per year, while hostel fees are pegged at roughly 1,200 yuan, according to the bureau.
“The program is designed to ensure that no student is deprived of study opportunities on the mainland due to a lack of financial means,” the spokesman said.
Roughly 1,000 students are expected to benefit in the first two years and another 800 in the third year. The program will then be reviewed by the government.
The size of the subsidy pales by comparison with other financial assistance programs offered to students who remain in the city.
“It will perhaps take some time for Hong Kong companies to hire more graduates who obtain their degrees on the mainland, but this change is necessary if they wish to target mainland markets,” said Lo.
“Over time, Hong Kong students with mainland degrees will become increasingly marketable”.
The bureau spokesman added: “Many Hong Kong students graduating from mainland universities have returned to work in Hong Kong after graduation. Many have secured employment or professional recognition in Hong Kong. With the vibrant economy on the mainland, there is an increasing demand for talent with a good understanding of the system and culture there, and a strong network.
“Hong Kong graduates of mainland universities will be highly competitive in the employment market.”
Applications can be made through the education bureau’s website and must be submitted by Aug 29. Successful applicants will be notified by December.