How to Study in China for Free (10 Steps)

A student from a very wealthy family may not have the need to search for how to study in China for free, but this is not so for intelligent students from less fortunate families.

On this page, you’ll be learning how to study in China for free, and I bet you, you’ll be grateful to follow these steps.

Why Should I Study in China?

  • Higher Job Opportunity
  • Low Cost of Education
  • Affordable Student Housing
  • High Opportunity of Winning a Scholarship
  • Tourist Sites

China has a very fast-growing economy, which has attracted the attention of a lot of people including students. Their technology is what captured most people the most, and the government keeps doing more.

The country wasn’t known for such growth back 3 decades ago, which gave them the name “the sleeping giant.” But, I love how Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte said it 200 years ago “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep for when she wakes up she will move the world.”

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the Most Powerful Weapon Which you can Use to Change the World,” and it couldn’t be more true in China. This country is really investing a lot in its education system, which offers students a lot of bang for their little buck.

You rarely see a country that has very affordable schools, and at the same time has quality education to back it up. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia are mostly on the top list for most English-speaking students; though these countries have amazing schools, their fees are most times not pocket friendly.

Furthermore, the country provides lots of scholarships for both their citizens and international students which allows you to study in China for free or at a very low cost. They even have some English-speaking colleges that students that don’t want to learn their language can focus on.

To wrap it up, they actually have a very low cost of living, and they have lots of places that are fitting for tourism. Beijing alone provides you with a lot of tourist attractions like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and even Tiananmen Square.

Can I Study in China For Free?

Yes, you can study in China for free but this is majorly by obtaining a fully funded scholarship or a sponsor.

The best way to study in China for free is through fully funded scholarships, and this is obtained through several means.

Some Chinese scholarships can pay for both your tuition fee and other expenses including accommodations while some provide scholarships for only your tuition fee or other costs.

How to Study in China for Free – 10 Ideas

We believe there are three categories of students reading this article, so the strategy we shared here applies to undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates.

A lot of things come into play if anyone must study in any college for free, whether as an international student or a citizen of the country.

Below are guaranteed steps you have to take if you want to study for free in China.

1. Study Hard and Obtain Good Results

Yes, that’s right, you need to study very well before you would be considered for admission and to earn a fully-funded scholarship. Because your result will speak volumes of who you are and why any college in China will admit and be willing to fund your education.

See it this way, no matter what you do in this world, as long as you produce reputable results, people will want to invest in you, so it is in schools, as long as you have a brilliant GPA, your test scores are great, colleges will want to consider you first.

It’s also advisable to be involved in extracurricular activities like volunteering, arts, sports, cheerleading, or chess because this will add to your advantage of studying in China for free.

2. Apply Early

Applying as early as possible increases your chances of studying for free in China, because early application means the university board will start processing your admission with ease, you have less competition, and they will release your decision letter as soon as possible.

You should know that you’re not the only one applying for admission, in fact, a lot and lots of students are now requesting admission in China, whether citizens or international students. So, the competition is getting higher and tougher.

You see, the early application gives you a significant edge towards being admitted and studying in China for free.

3. Apply for Chinese Scholarships

Scholarships are one of the best ways to study in any country for free, almost all – perhaps all – universities in China have scholarships they offer. If you applied for admission early, it enables the school to send your admission letter on time (if you were admitted) and this also helps you to apply for scholarships on time with the letter.

China offers scholarships through three different means; the Chinese Government Scholarships, Confucius Institute Scholarship, and Direct University Scholarships.

  • Chinese Government Scholarships

(China Scholarship Council) CSC Scholarships are awarded to both citizens of China and international students, in fact, this is the most preferred of all the three by foreign students. It covers the tuition of the student, their living expenses, their accommodation, and their insurance throughout their studies.

These scholarships are offered to undergraduates, graduate, and postgraduate students, but not for MBA and MBBS programs.

According to, 279 universities in China accept CSC scholarship students.

  • Confucius Institute Scholarship

This is also another way to study in China for free (and I mean absolutely free) for international students, but it is basically for students that are interested in studying the language and culture offered in more than 150 universities in China.

This is the way China wants to promote its language and culture in the world, and students will also be getting their tuition, their living expenses, their accommodation, and insurance funded.

  • Direct University Scholarships

A lot of universities in China offer direct scholarships to students either need-based or on the ground of academic excellence. Businesses and organizations like Alumni groups can also offer university scholarships to students who meet certain criteria.

4. Apply for HSK Winner Scholarship

This is another scholarship that was established by the Ministry of Education of China which is awarded to international students that had remarkable results in their Chinese Proficiency Test.

5. Apply for Scholarships from your Home Country

The good thing about looking for scholarships from your country is that you don’t need to wait till you’re admitted. A lot of companies from your country should have award programs they issue to their country’s students that meet some criteria.

Your federal government might even have programs to support their students to study in China for free, and they might even take care of all your tuition.

6. Apply for Canadian Government Aid

The government of China offers some financial aid to both their Chinese citizens and international students, it could be in form of scholarships, grants, or even student loan programs.

7. Applying for External Scholarships

External scholarships are financial aids that come from organizations and businesses. So, some businesses, foundations, and organizations are interested in helping you graduate without paying anything or paying little in your studies.

Just like most other scholarships, these organizations have criteria you must meet before they can award you these scholarships, one of the criteria might even be for you to come and work for them when you’re done with your studies, which is absolutely amazing.

Even though this is one of the ways to study in China for free, be careful which organization you apply to because scammers always take advantage of these opportunities to dupe students of their money.

8. Apply for Student Loans

This is not one of the best ways to study in China for free, but it could be a good option when other options have failed. According to English.Gov.CN, Undergraduate students are allowed to borrow up to 12,000 yuan yearly from state loans whereas graduates can borrow up to 16,000 yuan per year.

9. Work while Studying

International Students are allowed to work, but they must get permission from their host university as the immigration of China authority. That means, you can work in any company in China even as a student, and you’ll be able to use your money to fund your tuition, your other school fees, and probably your accommodation too. 

You can even start teaching English seeing that it is one of the most valuable jobs for part-time students. This is not a very easy way to study for free in China, but it’s one of the best for those that are ready to put in the work and also study for their degree.

10. Apply for Affordable Colleges in China

If you’re not able to study for free in China, you can try one of their very affordable colleges, you might be shocked to notice you can pay for them. The cheapest colleges in China can cost between CAD 2,000 to $5,000, depending on the degree.


As you can see, how to study in China for free mostly depends on your academic performance and your extracurricular activities. But if you don’t have these, you can still apply for other scholarships and financial aid, or if possible loans.

There must be a way to study in China if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Moreover, if you have a better option to study for free in this country, or you have a question, you can leave it in the comment section

Is University Education in China Free?

No, it’s not free, you have to pay for tuition and other expenses. But you can take advantage of scholarships to enable you to pay for all expenses including tuition.

Can a Foreigner Study in China for Free?

Yes, the best way for international students to study in China for free is through fully-funded scholarships. International students can also take advantage of some student loans offered by the Chinese government.