Chinese universities are implementing substantial increases in tuition fees this year, with some institutions raising fees for the first time in two decades. The higher fees

are a result of reduced national budget allocations for tertiary education and financial constraints faced by local governments.

Amid the financial challenges caused by three years of disruptive COVID-19 policies, a property crisis, and a sluggish economy, local governments are experiencing budget constraints. Chinese universities, which are predominantly public institutions, heavily rely on state funding.

For instance, the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai has raised tuition fees by 54% to 7,700 yuan ($1,082) per year for certain science, engineering, and physical education programs. Tuition fees for liberal arts have also increased by 30%. Shanghai Dianji University has seen a 40% rise in science and engineering tuition fees, while management, economics, and literature programs now require a 30% higher fee compared to the previous year.

In April, Shanghai, a major financial hub, decided to increase tuition fees for the upcoming academic year, marking the first adjustment in over two decades.

Other regions, such as the southwestern province of Sichuan and the northeastern province of Jilin, have also raised tuition fees for various majors. In Sichuan, the maximum increase reached 41%, according to local government statements.

The Ministry of Education's budget expenditure for tertiary education in 2023 is expected to decrease by 3.7% to 102.6 billion yuan compared to the previous year.

Additionally, a research team led by senior education experts proposed a substantial increase in university tuition fees for international students. The study, led by a professor from the Beijing Institute of Technology, suggested raising the annual tuition fees for international students to as much as 110,000 yuan from the current approximately 20,000 yuan. Photo by Shwangtianyuan, Wikimedia commons.