Overseas scholars of international law hold copies of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in hands in front of the Peace Palace in Hague, Netherlands on July 8, 2016. They try to seek justice of the international law by publicizing an open letter about scholars' professional stance on the South China Sea case. [Photo by Fu Jing/China Daily]
AFTER PUBLIC COLLEGES in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces adjusted their fees, Hainan province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region also held hearings on doing the same. Yet a media survey shows that 76 percent of respondents believe the current fees are already too high. China Youth Daily comments:
Are the tuition fees of colleges too high? That depends on whom you ask. For middle class families who can afford to send their children overseas for college education, domestic college tuition fees are relatively cheap; yet for the rural families the tuition fees are very high.
That explains the result of the media survey. Actually, people do not oppose increasing the funding to public colleges; it is the widening social gap that they oppose. When colleges raise their tuition fees it might be a negligible cost to wealthy families, but it puts a heavy burden on poorer ones.
Public colleges are sponsored by taxpayers' money and they are supposed to be affordable to the majority of families. Therefore, if the colleges need additional funding, they need a mechanism according to which the wealthy members of society pay more.
Of course, we do not mean to draft different tuition fees according to the different incomes of families. Why do domestic colleges not follow the example of their Western counterparts and offer more scholarships to students from poor families? In that way, the students from poor families would be able to finish college education without it being too much of a burden on their parents.
Besides, it is time to improve the college education loan system, so that poor students can live on their own and pay back the loans when they get jobs.
The survey result is a reminder to colleges. Maybe they can raise tuition fees, but the move should come together with more scholarships and a better loan system so that those from poor families will not be excluded from college education..