The government will allocate a 300 million yuan (US$40.7 million) financial lifeline to poor senior high school students in the western and rural regions, the Ministry of Education said on Friday.
Up to 300,000 students from 22 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in central and western areas will each receive a subsidy of 1,000 yuan a year, ministry spokesman, Wang Xuming, said.
"We will try to make sure the money reaches the students before the Spring Festival in February," Wang said.
The aid program will be jointly supervised by the ministries of finance and education, and the China Education Development Foundation.
Students can apply to determine whether they meet the requirements to receive the aid.
County-level and provincial education administrative departments will assess each case for eligibility.
To guarantee fairness and transparency, the names of would-be beneficiaries will be announced online and on public bulletin board at schools.
Zhang Baoqing, chairman of the China Education Development Foundation, said: "The task is extremely urgent and this is the first time the central subsidy system has covered ordinary senior high school students.
"The fund distribution method is a trial operation and we need to closely inspect it to guarantee the funds reach needy students," he said.
"This aid policy will be a continuous one and will be gradually improved."
To bridge the education gap, some local governments have dedicated their own funds to help poor students wanting further study.
(China Daily December 22, 2007)