How to Study in China for Free (8 Steps)

The future of any economy is dictated by the capabilities and skills that professionals bring to the table. As with any profession, getting to a point where one may be able to contribute substantially to certain developments and advancements in important fields, such as law, engineering, or science, requires proper education and a good support system. Education has never been more accessible than it is today. Because of more opportunities for traveling and communication, students can opt to study in countries outside of their own. The number of institutions that are opening their doors to students of different nationalities and cultures has steadily grown over the years. This is definitely a welcome development since professionals who experience a wider array of problems will be more adept at both finding solutions and thinking outside of the box.

For countries whose institutions offer international students a chance to study in their universities, having this kind of program is also beneficial, in a way, since it provides them with an opportunity to work closely with professionals from outside their country. These international students, who later on might become experts in their own respective fields, also have the chance to contribute not only to the development of their own country but also to countries who have helped them reach their greatest potentials.

Countries such as China have started to offer scholarships and exchange programs for international students who want to study in one of the biggest countries in Asia. China is a diverse country with a lot of opportunities for students from abroad, and getting to know where these opportunities lie is one of the first steps to being able to study in China for free.

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How to Study in China for Free

1. Apply to Universities in China

One of the most important steps to finding the right university or institution for your needs is by taking that first step of applying to said universities. Through applying, these entities will start to consider you for the specific degree program that you prefer to study in, and later on, assess whether you qualify to study within their program or not. Applying to universities in China may seem intimidating at first, but having a variety of options to choose from makes choosing a university an easier task. If you are interested, take a look at How to Study in China for International Students (4 Steps).

2. Have affordable universities in China on your list

For international students who want to study in China, the average tuition fee costs around 2500$ to 10,000$ per year. The range widely varies between universities, so choosing the university that is more affordable is one way to study in Chinese universities, which can dramatically increase your chances of studying in China for free. Comparing the fees between each university will help you decide which choice best suits your needs as a student.

3. Prepare your credentials early

Before being admitted into the institution of your choosing, certain steps must be complied with. Some universities require the submission of documents or even the taking of proficiency examinations. Thus, in order to adequately position yourself in such a way that the university might accept you into their program, you have to make sure that you are considered to be a great applicant in the eyes of said institution.

Being an applicant with a great portfolio can be achieved by doing well in preliminary studies, and getting good grades. By improving on your academic standings, and making sure you do well on tests that may be given, the chance of studying in China for free by getting a scholarship into the institution that you desire greatly increases.

4. Prepare your application early

Any difficult undertaking requires you to prepare to the best of your abilities. Getting into universities and institutions that are of international standards is no small feat, which means that the preparations that must be undertaken are not as easy as they may seem. As an aspiring applicant, being diligent even in the early stages of the application process by preparing early will definitely help your chances of getting into the university that you want, and may even get you scholarships and grants if the institution deems you worthy of it.

5. Look for Scholarships in China

For applicants that may not have the financial means to afford paying for tuition fees, some universities in China offer scholarships to deserving applicants. Getting scholarships is the best way to study in China for free.

The criteria for awarding such scholarships can differ from university to university, and the points of merit also depend on factors like academic standing and financial need. In universities like Tsinghua University, they offer financial aid and scholarships to international students, as listed on their site. There are three scholarship options to choose from, each with its own requirements. They also offer scholarships for degree programs and non-degree or exchange programs.

Another example of a university scholarship is offered by Zhengzhou University. Their Zhengzhou University President Scholarship is offered for their Ph.D. programs. According to their site, only non-Chinese citizens may avail of this scholarship, which means that it is exclusively offered to international students. They also require the submission of certain application documents, physical examinations, as well as registration and visa processing.

Apart from these universities, other institutions in China also offer scholarships that can be availed of by international students depending on their qualifications and financial standing.

6. Look for Scholarships from your own government

If finding the right scholarship from Chinese universities might not be a good fit, another option would be to look for scholarships that are offered by the national government of your own country. Some governments offer their students a chance to study abroad for free, as long as that student is qualified and eligible for the said program. These programs can be for specific degrees, or they can be in the form of financial support for their students who want to study in a field of their choice. Offers shall depend on the government of your national country.

7. Look for External Scholarships

Organizations and groups also offer scholarships to aspiring individuals who want to study abroad, which means that the choices of grants and financial aid are not necessarily limited to your government or to Chinese universities. Applying through said organizations may also be beneficial, especially if aid from other sources is not available due to the lack of slots left or for other reasons.

8. Lower your cost of living

One of the most effective ways to study in China for free when studying abroad is by lowering your cost of living. The average amount it costs to live in China as a student is around 150$ to 1000$, depending on the type of accommodation you choose and where. For students who choose to live on-site on the campus of their choosing, fees can go as low as the minimum 150$. For those who rent single-room apartments, the range is between 300$ to 1000$. Thus, finding a cheap apartment can also be a good way to lower your cost of living as a student in China.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the China Scholarships Page!