Education Bureau announces subsidised study opportunities for designated professions/sectors


19th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent announcement, the Education Bureau (EDB) revealed that the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) will provide subsidies for a total of 4,825 places across 52 undergraduate programs. These include 3,305 places in 52 first-year-first-degree (FYFD) programs and 1,520 places in 41 top-up degree (TUD) programs offered by eight post-secondary institutions for the academic year 2024/25.

The SSSDP focuses on ten disciplines with high demand for skilled professionals, namely architecture and engineering, computer science, creative industries, financial technology, healthcare, insurance, logistics, sports and recreation, testing and certification, and tourism and hospitality. Notably, the program includes four applied degrees that were selected for the second round of the Pilot Project on the Development of Applied Degree Programs.

The allocation of programs and subsidized places under the SSSDP is determined through consultations between the EDB and relevant policy bureaux and departments. For a comprehensive list of participating institutions, programs, and the number of subsidized places, please refer to the Annex. The EDB is actively collaborating with policy bureaux and departments to explore the inclusion of more suitable programs in the SSSDP.

To account for the Composite Consumer Price Index, the annual subsidy amount for laboratory-based programs in the 2024/25 academic year will increase from $78,280 to $79,770, while non-laboratory-based programs will see an increase from $44,950 to $45,810.

These adjusted subsidy amounts apply to both new and continuing eligible students and cover the normal duration of the respective programs. Subsidized students are required to pay a tuition fee with the applied subsidy. Students facing financial constraints can still apply for student financial assistance from the Student Finance Office of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency, which will consider the actual amount of tuition fee payable.

The subsidized FYFD intake places are primarily allocated through the Joint University Programmes Admissions System, ensuring a merit-based selection process for eligible students. On the other hand, the subsidized places for TUD programs follow existing admission arrangements within the self-financing TUD program sector, allowing direct admission by the respective institutions. Students interested in these programs can apply directly through their preferred institutions.

The SSSDP was initially launched in the academic year 2015/16 to provide subsidies for full-time, locally accredited self-financing undergraduate programs in selected disciplines. Its objectives include increasing the supply of subsidized undergraduate places, nurturing talent in industries with high demand for professionals, encouraging the self-financing post-secondary education sector to offer programs aligned with Hong Kong’s needs, and supporting the sector’s healthy and sustainable development to complement the University Grants Committee-funded sector in expanding study opportunities.

Starting from the academic year 2023/24, the SSSDP has been expanded to include TUD programs. Details regarding the designated sub-degree programs for the 2024/25 cohort, including participating institutions, sub-degree programs, subsidized places, and subsidy amounts, will be announced in due course.