Grants and Scholarships in China. Is it possible to study in China for free?

In the previous article, we told you about the aspects of obtaining a bachelor’s degree at universities in the Middle Kingdom; now we have to take a closer look at each of the major scholarship programs.


1.Chinese government scholarship
2.Grant of China Provinces
3.China Belt and Road Initiative
4.Internal university grants
5.Confucius Institute Scholarship

1. Chinese government scholarship

The scholarship issued by the highest scholarship body in China – China ScholarshipCouncil (CSC) – is one of the most common types of scholarship for applicants for undergraduate studies. It can be either partial or fully cover the costs of tuition, living and household needs of the student.

Requirements for applicants:

– lack of Chinese citizenship;

– a certificate of complete secondary education, a copy of which must be notarized and translated either into English or into Chinese;

– Certificate of proficiency in Chinese not lower than HSK4 or IELTS5;

– a letter of motivation in Chinese + two letters of recommendation from the place of study;

– no health problems;

– the age of the applicant must not be more than 25 years old;

– applicants under the age of 18 must provide the relevant documents from legal guarantors.

Step-by-step instructions for applying:

  1. Register on the website and submit an application, having previously selected a suitable university and specialty;
  2. If necessary, fill out a similar form on the website of the selected university, attaching a CSC questionnaire;
  3. Important! In the application form, you must indicate the so-called AgencyNumber. A list of numbers assigned to universities can be found at the link.
  4. Attach the necessary documents to the questionnaire, download the application form in PDF format, “confirm” and, having printed out two packages of documents together with the finished questionnaire, additionally send them by mail to the addresses of the selected universities.

Other provisions:

  1. Bachelor’s monthly scholarship is 2500 RMB;
  2. Application deadline: from January 1 to April 30 annually;
  3. As practice shows, despite the official possibility of applying for a government grant, China considers documents primarily for those foreigners who have letters of recommendation from their place of study. Based on this, the student is first required to enroll in the first year at a higher educational institution in his home country in order to obtain recommendations for a specialty, and only then apply for a government scholarship.

2. Grant of Chinese provinces

Unlike a government grant, provincial scholarships are funded directly by universities partnering with the governments of individual provinces in China.

The requirements for applicants remain the same as when applying for a government scholarship, however in some provinces the maximum age of the applicant rises to 28 years.

How to apply? Since the requirements for applying for a provincial grant vary depending on the individual conditions of specific universities, the applicant should independently study the information about the provincial grant on the websites of the universities of interest and send the documents directly to the office of the selected educational institution.

All the details related to the size of the student’s annual funding and the deadline for submitting an application vary and are detailed on the official websites of Chinese universities.

3. China’s Belt and Road Initiative

One Belt, One Road, or the Silk Road Grant Program, is a project based on mutually beneficial cooperation and aimed at strengthening economic relations with the CIS countries, South Asia, Europe and African regions.

Requirements for applicants:

– lack of Chinese citizenship;

– age up to 25 years;

– no health problems;

– be a citizen of a country that has signed an agreement on participation in the “one belt, one way” initiative (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc.);

– availability of a translated and notarized secondary education diploma with good academic performance;

– knowledge of English at the TOEFL80 + / IELTS6 + level or Chinese at the HSK4 + level.

The step-by-step instructions for applying are the same as for applying for a government grant. The online application is filled out at

Other provisions:

  1. Application deadline: November to March;
  2. The annual student budget is 20,000-30,000 RMB / year.

4. Domestic university grants

All universities that have passed the prestigious accreditation of academic excellence under Projects 211 and 985 have a budget to fund international students. Typically, these grants are awarded on the basis of academic achievement and require annual proof of academic achievement. The university determines the conditions for the distribution of scholarships independently, while grants are of three types:

  1. Full coverage of the costs of training, accommodation + the presence of a monthly scholarship;
  2. Coverage of tuition fees;
  3. Partial coverage of tuition and living expenses.

5. Confucius Institute Scholarship

This scholarship is primarily suitable for those who intend to enroll in an undergraduate degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language or areas related to the culture or history of China. The period of financial support in this case is 4 years, and applicants must have a diploma of completed secondary education and speak the language at the HSK4 + level.

Step-by-step instructions for applying and all the necessary requirements for applicants can be found on the official website of the Confucius Institute at the link.

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