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Poor Students Receive Mlns of Yuan in Aid

The Shanghai Education Commission allocated 668 million yuan (US$92.08 million) to the city's poor students last year, the commission announced this morning.

The aid included 141.7 million yuan from the city's government and 270.6 million yuan from schools and universities, with 221 million yuan from bank loans and 3.5 million yuan from donations.

The government set up a new Shanghai Scholarship, offering 8,000 yuan in annual aid to each poor student while increasing the National Scholarship from 4,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a year.

The National Encouragement Scholarship was increased to include 2,000 more students each year. It provides 5,000 yuan annually to students who qualify.

There are 76,094 poor students in Shanghai, accounting for 15.62 percent of the entire student population. About 20 percent of the country's 240 million students had financial difficulties last year.

The central government allocated 9.5 billion yuan last year to student assistance funds, scholarships and relief programs, according to a previous report.

The government planned to double its budget to help poor students to 20 billion yuan this year, according to the Ministry of Education.

Including student loans and donations from local governments and universities, the fund would total 50 billion yuan annually from this year, covering about four million university students and 16 million in vocational schools, said He Guangcai, an official from the ministry's financing department.

(Shanghai Daily January 15, 2008)

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