China, the most populous country in the modern world, is also one of the fastest in economic growth. It is no secret how much this country, nicknamed the Sleeping Giant, improved in many aspects. It is an excellent destination for ex-pats and investors due to endless business and career opportunities. Its people have been known to be one of the hardest workers in the world, an absolute asset in the country’s economic and political rise.

Besides work and business, people find themselves drawn to this beautiful country due to its recent focus on tourism. Recently, tourists flock to China’s big cities, such as Beijing, where they can visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, Shanghai with its skyscrapers, shopping centers, and waterfront nightlife, and Chengdu for its Jinsha Site Museum and giant pandas. Tourism in China also vastly increased in its provinces, such as Zhangjiajie, due to its recent developments.

Studying in China is another excellent reason to stay in the country. As some countries increase tuition costs, international students can take advantage of affordable universities without compromising the quality of their education. Moreover, scholarships are not exclusive to local Chinese students either as the government, private sectors, and universities fund scholarship programs for international students. With the help of online communities and websites, getting information on how to study for free in China has never been easier, and aspiring international students can take this great chance to reach their academic goals.

How Much Is the Cost When Studying in China?

For international students, the range of tuition fees can be as low as USD $2,000 ~ $4,000 per year, however, for international universities, the cost of tuition fees can get as high as $10,000 ~ $20,000 per year. Unlike other universities in China, international universities have connections abroad, which means that you will be able to study in China and also abroad in foreign countries.

Do Universities in China Offer Free Tuition?

For some select programs in Chinese universities, they do offer free tuition for international applicants if you decide to go into that track. However, the requirements may vary from institution to institution, so make sure to read the eligibility criteria carefully before applying for such a program.

How to Study in China for Free

1. Study Well and Put Together Your Application Early

Studying hard and preparing early for your college application can give you an advantage over other applicants. Focusing on your academic goals and an unwavering dedication to achieving your career aspirations should start early in your education. This way, you can build a strong academic profile that will secure your spot in any university you choose to apply for and be able to study in China for free. While others take time to consider the grave importance of preparation for higher education, you are already there; your spot in your dream university is just waiting for your application.

Early submission is a crucial factor in getting into your preferred school. As you compete with thousands of other applicants, getting your application among the first to be reviewed by the university’s review panel may leave an impacting impression that can take up your chances of getting accepted. Of course, submitting your application early also means submitting an impressive application that stands out among other university hopefuls.

2. Get Financial Aid in China

Not everybody was from a wealthy family and was born with a silver spoon, thus the constant need to be practical in life. It means getting an education needs practicality, too, and while some may argue that studying abroad may not be financially advisable, universities offering scholarships counter this premise. In China, schools offer scholarships that cover tuition fees as well as accommodation, subsistence, and visa and travel expenses so that you can study in China for free.

Checking out the websites of these scholarship providers can help you in making a practical choice with your education. With these options, studying in China for free is plausible. International students even have the unique opportunity to experience its culture and learn more about its diversity as the world’s most populous country.

3. Attend Cheap Chinese Universities

Scholarships can take any international student to financial freedom like no other, not to mention the prestige that comes along with being tagged as a full scholar. However, most international students may not be fortunate enough to get accepted into a scholarship program. The reason for this is the tight competition, with the difficulty of achieving an outstanding academic profile being the deterrent. Despite this, studying in China has never been easier due to its affordable universities.

Partial scholarships and relatively cheaper tuition provide students the opportunity to study and live independently while taking advantage of the country’s numerous job prospects. The tuition fees in the country’s most affordable universities range between $2,000 to $10,000 per year. The tuition costs in some private universities are marginally higher compared to public universities. International students can even take advantage of the cheaper tuition costs at selected programs in China’s top universities, such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Fudan University.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Study Undergraduate in China for Free

Students are taking the vast opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree for free in China. The country has various scholarship providers in the government and private sector. The Chinese government scholarships include the China Scholarship Council, Jiangsu Government Scholarship, Hubei Provincial Scholarship, and the Beijing Government Scholarship. Meanwhile, non-government institutions such as the Confucius Institute Scholarships and British Council China Scholarships also offer scholarships to international students. These scholarships also provide support to masters and doctoral students in the country.

Besides the government and private scholarships, various universities fund scholarships for international students in China. The Xiamen University scholarship covers tuition fees only for Bachelor’s program students. Another university that offers scholarships to international students is Tianjin University. Aside from tuition fees, this scholarship provides a living allowance to qualified international students in China. With these two universities, international students can study for undergraduate degrees in China for free.

Study Master’s in China for Free

Along with the scholarships for undergraduate students, Chinese universities also offer scholarships to Master’s students so that they can complete their Master’s degree for free in China. The Xiamen University, which also provides scholarships to undergraduate students, provides the same privilege to international students in Master’s programs. Aside from tuition fees, the students enjoy a monthly allowance of RMB3,000, equivalent to approximately $450. The Zhejiang University, another scholarship provider for master students, has a full scholarship option. It covers a tuition waiver, free accommodation on campus, a monthly stipend of RMB2,000, and comprehensive medical insurance for international students living in China. Students are even entitled to receive a living allowance for another 15 days after their graduation date as scheduled by the university.

Another Chinese school that offers a scholarship for international students is Peking University. With its full scholarship, outstanding students have the chance to study tuition-free while receiving a monthly stipend and comprehensive medical insurance. To maintain its high academic standards, students availing of this scholarship are required to take the annual evaluation. Likewise, the University of Science and Technology of China also provides a scholarship that covers the tuition waiver, accommodation where students have the option to stay in the university dormitory for free or receive an accommodation subsidy, and comprehensive medical insurance. With these four universities, completing a Master’s program in China for free has never been more accessible.

Study Ph.D. in China for Free

As previously mentioned, Xiamen University offers scholarships to students at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. Fortunately for international students, the university extends the same program to doctorate candidates so that they can study for free in China. The university scholarship covers full tuition fees of accepted Ph.D. students, at the same time, provides them a monthly stipend of RMB3,500. Students can also enjoy the 4-year scholarship duration granting that they pass the yearly review. Tianjin University offers the Peiyang Future Scholar Scholarship to international students. It is a full scholarship that covers tuition for the academic year, as well as a living allowance of RMB3,500 and free accommodation within the campus. Like the other scholarship programs, it also requires recipients to undergo and pass an annual review for the continuation of the grant in the succeeding school years.

Zhengzhou University has the President Scholarship for international students pursuing a doctorate in China. It offers full tuition with monthly accommodation and living allowances at CNY1,000 and CNY3,500, respectively. Through this scholarship, the recipients can enjoy the scholarship for the whole duration of their 4-year Ph.D. program. A top school in the country, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, also provides fully-funded scholarships to outstanding Ph.D. students. Through these universities, aspiring researchers have the opportunity to optimize their academic excellence with significantly fewer financial setbacks.


I hope that this article on how to study in China for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!