More than 2.53 million Chinese have applied to take this year's higher education entrance examinations, about 20,000 more than last year.
Universities and colleges of higher education across the country will enrol 930,000 new students, which means that only the top 37 per cent of candidates will pass the examination. The percentage is a small increase on last year.
According to Zhao Lianghong, deputy director of the university students department of the State Education Commission, an important reform measure this year is the equal treatment of state-subsidised students and students enrolled at their own expense.
The reform follows the government's decision to introduce tuition fees for new students at key universities last year.
Such students were being given the privilege of choosing their jobs after graduation, while state-funded students continued to be given no say in their job assignments. From this year both categories will have a say in their future careers.
The number of universities and colleges charging tuition fees has increased to 244 this year.
As economic development and living standards vary across provinces, universities and colleges are permitted to charge varying tuition fees with State Education Commission and State Planning commission approval. Fees may also be varied for different courses.
Increases however are restricted to 8 per cent annually. Students in teacher training, agriculture, forestry and in navigation and ethnic minority colleges will not be required to pay tuition fees.