Government details non-local student expansion plans for Hong Kong universities

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6th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government has elaborated on plans announced in the 2023 Policy Address to double the quota of non-local students in University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded undergraduate programs to 40% starting 2024/25.

In response to lawmaker Dr Hon Wendy Hong, Secretary for Education Dr Choi Yuk-lin explained the move aims to develop Hong Kong into an international education hub and expose local students to diverse perspectives.

The additional non-local students will not displace local students nor receive public funding. Tuition fees, set no lower than local student rates, will cover any extra costs.

Statistics shared show non-local students currently pay between HK$140,000 to $171,000 annually in tuition, compared to around $154,000 per student in teaching expenditures at UGC institutions.

The doubling of the quota is not a target but a maximum limit providing headroom for universities to admit more non-locals at their discretion based on capacity.

Dr Choi noted universities have increased academic staff 7% from 2018/19 to 2022/23 while students only grew 1% in the same period. The government has also earmarked $16 billion since 2019 for campus upgrades benefiting all students.

Non-local student tuition and other income will fund facilities and staff for expanded intake. The policy allows universities to set appropriate tuition rates based on competitiveness, costs and other factors.

Regarding student housing, UGC universities are adding 13,500 dorm places by 2027 including for additional students. Hostel allocation balances different priorities, with schools optimizing resources pragmatically.

The government will urge universities to provide accommodation options via private partnerships and rental assistance. A multi-pronged approach should support various student groups’ needs in line with major education hubs.