By Michael Evans
Graduate students in Beijing have filed suit against their university after a month-long debate over cuts in scholarship money.
The 79 graduate students majoring in law began their studies at the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) last year. Before enrolling, they had learned that the university had offered scholarships of 9,000 yuan to incoming students with outstanding grades in 2010, and assumed that a similar scholarship would be available in the current year.
After the students had enrolled, however, they discovered that 2011 incoming students would only be eligible for scholarships of 2,000 yuan.
The news provoked an outcry, with many students saying they had been misled. One student, who asked not to be identified, told China National Radio that many of his classmates came from families of limited means, and had chosen CUPL over other similarly-ranked schools because of the generous scholarships available.
The school met with student representatives on two occasions in September and November, explaining that the cut in scholarships had been in response to new guidelines from the Ministry of Education.
However the students were not satisfied, and on December 12, six students filed suit at the Changping District People’s Court.
The move has apparently paid off. On Saturday, the university announced on its website that scholarships of 12,000 yuan would be given to 45 percent of students in the plaintiff class, and 9,000 yuan to a further 20 percent.