More than 600 university students in need have received financial aid from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.
Liu Wenkui, vice-president of the foundation, said Sunday that the New Great Wall Project initiated on Sept. 1, 2002, had so far collected 3.03 million yuan (365,200 US dollars) from across the society.
The money will be used to help university students from poverty-stricken families to cover their living expenses. The per capita annual assistance varies with the living costs in different places,with the highest and the lowest standing around 8,000 yuan (960 US dollars) and 4,000 yuan (480 US dollars) respectively.
In Beijing alone, 120 needy university students from Beijing and Qinghua universities, Chinese University of Science and Technology, People's University of China and Chinese University of Agriculture have received the financial aid.
Liu said that in 2003, more assistance would be channeled to needy students in central and western China where the economy was less robust and schools were less developed.
A survey released by the foundation reveals that the proportion of needy university students in China rose from 3 percent in 1996 to between 8 and 10 percent now.
"As China has reformed its university education system, a lot more parents cannot afford their children's tuition fees, which forces many promising students to drop out," Liu said.
To solve the problem, China has established a loan system to help students complete their college study. To date, a total of 5.1 billion yuan (616.7 million US dollars) has been granted to more than 590,000 students.
An annual budget allocation of 200 million yuan (24.2 million US dollars) has been made by the central government since 2002 as a special fund to support 4,5000 academically excellent students from low-income families.