Universities told to stop making students beg for aid

Many students applying for financial aid at Chinese universities find that submitting written documents isn’t enough – to win the cash, they must give speeches in public about their plight and hope their stories are ‘moving’ enough to earn the audience votes they need to qualify, write Ding Jie, Mo Xiaotian and Teng Jing Xuan for Caixin.

This selection process, which is popularly dubbed the ‘misery competition’, resembles a reality television show and often results in on-stage tears and students revealing private details about the extent of their families’ poverty in an effort to seem like the most deserving applicant. But the Ministry of Education is attempting to put an end to these theatrics, recently issuing a document forbidding misery competitions, citing concerns about students’ privacy and dignity.

Universities are now scrambling to find an alternative way to pick financial aid recipients after years of relying on such public displays. “You can’t say that just because someone gave a better speech, it means they’re really poor. There are still suspicions of fraud,” said Lei Wanpeng, deputy director of the School of Education at Central China Normal University.
Full report on the Caixin site