Is Education in China Free?

Analysis of Educational Costs in China

Over the last few decades, education in China has changed into an intricate structure made up of multiple tiers of public and private educational programs. These Chinese school fees may raise the question: is education in China free, or not? Let's take a closer look at the educational policies in China and potential costs associated with learning at various levels.

Availability Of Public Education

Almost all primary and middle schools in China are own-run by the state. All children are subject to the Compulsory Education Law, which requires all Chinese children to attend school for at least nine years (six years of primary education and three years of junior secondary education.) It helps to provide free education phase to all children which supports the idea of universal elementary education.

Concealed Public School Costs

Although tuitions are free during the preparatory education, parents pay elsewhere. These can range from school uniform, books, educational supplies, and school maintenance and activities. In urban areas, these extra costs can be expensive, which can serve as a deterrent for a truly free education.

High School and Beyond

When the student moves out of the middle school stage to high school the game changes completely. High schools are not designated under the compulsory education law, fees are charged for attending. Of course, depending on the school, cost can be thousands of dollars more. Moreover, these alternative to high school programs (job education and simultaneous training) involve the direct payment of school fees.

Tertiary Education Costs

But still college education in China this not for free. Tuition fees; universities are entitled to charge students for studying in accordance to legislation, and studies underlines an increasing trend of tuition fees for the latest years. Tuition fees for an ordinary university education in China—5,000 to 10,000 yuan per academic year, depending upon the discipline, the university, and the location of the university Certain universities and schools located in popular cities can charge extremely high fees. Financial aid, scholarships, and student loans are all options, but Chinese families and students see the cost of such tuition as too burdensome to consider.

Private Education Sector

The rise of the private educational sector in China has led to more choices across all levels, translating to pre-school to higher education. This system, the the Crown Jewels of Higher Education, is not cheap tuition is much higher than at public institutions. Private education is sought after that, which is often tailored to meet the need of certain programs, reduced class sizes, and, in some cases, internationals written choices.


One must appreciate that in order to fully understand the funding of education in China, it is necessary to realize that, although basic education is free, the free cost of education has many levels, and it is precisely because of the multi-level composition of cost, resulting in the free cost of education is out of reach, only in the academic level, with the title of educational funding in the title. The financial burden becomes huge as students enter the higher education platforms.

For a deeper look into the costs of education and how education funding works in China, read here: is education free in china This resource offers more extensive details regarding how the different levels of the Chinese education system are being financed.

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