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The Impact of an Academic High School Tuition Relief Program on Students’ Matriculation into High Schools in Rural China

Yunli Bai, Linxiu Zhang, Hongmei Yi, Liming Zheng and Scott Rozelle

China Economic Review, 2017, vol. 43, issue C, 16-28

Abstract: By 2010, only one-quarter of workers in China had received a high school (HS) education. One of the root causes of this low rate is that China has the highest HS tuition fees globally. Although the Chinese government has implemented a series of programs to reduce the cost of attending vocational HS, the cost of attending academic HS in China emains high. This study evaluates the extent to which an academic HS tuition relief program initiated by a poor county in western China affects students' schooling decisions after graduation from junior high school. By using a longitudinal dataset of 2348 students in two counties, we use ordinary least squares and propensity score matching to evaluate the impact of this program on four student outcomes: matriculation into academic HS, matriculation into vocational HS, entering the labor market, and retaking high school entrance exams. The results show that the program significantly increased matriculation into academic HS by 21 percentage points, while it reduced matriculation into vocational HS by 7 percentage points, the likelihood of entering the labor market by 11.9percentage points, and the likelihood of retaking exams by 2.1 percentage points. Further, we find that the effects of the program among middle-income students are stronger compared with those of other groups. And we found that the program had no significantly heterogeneous impact on students with different academic performance.

Keywords: tuition relief program; matriculation into high schools; academic high school; vocational high school; rural China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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