Based on the percentage of spending, the average tuition and living expenses currently needed to attend college and other institutions of higher education in China are the most expensive in the world.
The British Observer reported that an independent organization, the Educational Policy Institute, compared the expenses of higher education in 16 countries and published the Global Higher Education Rankings. Japan is cited in that article as the country with the most expensive tuition and expenses, followed by New Zealand and England.
Just looking at the absolute numbers, the average tuition and expenses in Japan might be the highest in the world. The total for annual education expenses, including tuition and daily expenses, is 8,930 British pounds (US$15,508) per person, which equals to about 110,000 yuan (US$13,291) in China. However, it is meaningless to compare the absolute numbers. What needs to be taken into consideration is the relative equality of purchasing power.
Xue Yong, a scholar who currently lives in the U.S., wrote in the Oriental Morning News on June 1, 2005, "The average GDP in China is about US$1,000, and it is US$36,000 in the U.S. and US$31,000 in Japan. Considering the average GDP per person in Japan is 31 times higher than that in China, based on the percentage of spending, paying 110,000 yuan (US$13,291) in Japan is like paying 3,550 yuan (US$429) in China. However, the total annual education expenses to attend college in China, including tuition and living expenses, is an average of 10,000 yuan (US$1208) per person. In some colleges, the tuition alone would cost over 10,000 yuan (US$1208).
In other words, based on the percentage of spending, the average expenses for college in China is three times more expensive than that of Japan, the "most expensive" in the world. From another aspect, paying 11,000 yuan (US$1,325) out of a US$31,000 income is a totally different monetary situation as opposed to paying 3,550 yuan (US$428) out of a US$1,000 income. The first situation will leave the person with enough money to live comfortably and the latter might not even be enough for a person to survive. There are 800 million farmers in China who have an average annual income of far less than 3,000 yuan (US$361).
The pressure from high tuition and expenses has put tremendous pressure on more and more college students in China.