A public university in southern China has become the first in the country to waive tuition fees, a move funded by donations from the personal foundation of Hong Kong's richest man.
Shantou University in Guangdong province announced on Sunday that as part of its full tuition scholarship programme funded by the Li Ka Shing Foundation it would not charge the fees for undergraduate students enrolling from this year.
The programme started last year by covering the fees for 34 students enrolled in the university's newly established biomedical engineering major.
"The programme had positive results, which reinforced the determination of the Li Ka Shing Foundation to expand the programme to all undergraduate enrolments in 2019," the university said.
The foundation has set aside up to 100 million yuan (US$14 million) to fund the programme each year.
The university said it expected to enrol 3,100 undergraduates this year.
Tuition fees, based on last year's numbers, ranged from 5,500 yuan to 10,000 yuan a year, depending on the major.
Li was born in Chaozhou, about 40km (25 miles) from Shantou, in 1928 before moving to Hong Kong as a child.
He helped to fund the establishment of the university on a block of deserted land in 1981 and his foundation has donated more than 10 billion yuan over the decades to support the university's development.
The 91-year-old officially retired last year and passed the baton of his listed flagships CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings to his elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi.
He also stepped down as the university's honorary chairman, a position taken on by his younger son Richard Li Tzar-kai.
Li Ka Shing is 28th on Forbes' list of the world's richest people, with an estimated wealth of US$30 billion.
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