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Hong Kong Unveils Plan to Raise University Tuition Fees over Three Years

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The Hong Kong government is poised to raise university tuition fees over the next three years, with annual increases ranging from 5 to 9 percent, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The planned hikes come as Education Secretary Christine Choi has previously acknowledged that the current annual tuition fee of HK$42,100 for local students at University Grants Committee-funded institutions has remained unchanged since 1996.

Choi said the government aims to have the tuition fee cover 18 percent of the total cost, up from the current 13 percent.

“It’s time to raise the tuition fees,” Choi said, indicating that the increases would be phased in as early as next year.

The education chief has reportedly met with some lawmakers to explain the government’s proposal, and an official announcement on the matter is expected soon.

The proposed tuition hikes are likely to stir debate in a city where the cost of living has been a major social and political issue. Student groups and unions have previously protested against increases in educational expenses.

However, the government has argued that the current fee structure is unsustainable and that raising tuition is necessary to maintain the quality of higher education.

“We understand the concerns of students and families, but we also have to ensure our universities can continue to provide world-class education,” a government source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Details on the phased implementation and potential measures to assist low-income students are still to be announced by the education authorities.