2020-09-03 10:56:54

A residential community in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou is rewarding its best and brightest residents who receive admission letters from colleges.

The Hua Feng community, home to some 4,200 residents, is awarding one-time grants ranging from 6,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan ($880-$1,470) for students who receive enrollment offers this year, local media reported Thursday. The community has so far awarded a total of 28,000 yuan to three of its rising college freshmen.

The financial grants are part of the community’s long-standing tradition of encouraging young residents to continue their education at the tertiary level. The community has awarded over 2.5 million yuan to students since the program started some three decades ago.

“The tradition began in the ’90s, when the monetary award was lower than it is today,” Xuan Feifei, a member of the neighborhood committee, told Sixth Tone. “At the time, some families’ incomes weren’t stable enough to actually send their kids to college, so the committee stepped in to help them out.”

The community awards 10,000 yuan for students accepted to first-tier colleges, and since 2015 those admitted to second-tier institutions have received 8,000 yuan each. Previously, students going to third- or fourth-tier colleges received 6,000 yuan and 8,000 yuan, respectively.

“It’s a positive policy to help emphasize the importance of education,” Xuan said, adding that the funding comes from the community’s “pooled annual revenues.”

Some local beneficiaries have made the most of their awards.

Xuan said she was particularly impressed by one student, Zhu Shanshan, who returned to Hangzhou after graduating from a university in the United States. After receiving an 8,000 yuan grant from the community in 2006, Zhu came back to Hua Feng in 2013 and opened an English education center.

Yu Xiangxiang, a recent recipient of the award, has a different career path in mind. An aspiring economics and trade major at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, she wants to work for banks or bigger corporations outside her hometown.

“10,000 yuan is very generous. My friends may be jealous after I tell them,” Yu told Sixth Tone, adding that she’ll probably use the money for books and travel.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A student shows off the cash award she received from the Hua Feng residential community in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, September 2020. Courtesy of Hua Feng)