Chinese university “secretly” puts subsidy into students’ meal cards

The short message notify a student of the subsidy

“Recently we found that your campus card consumption was relatively low during your mealtime in the campus canteen, so we put 200 yuan (about $29.07) into your account. Hope it helps.”

Many students in China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) received the above short message and found an extra 200 yuan in their campus card account lately. Confused about what has happened, a lot of the students thought they were targeted by some kind of scam.

The money turned out to be a subsidy from the university, which was endeavoring to help impoverished students secretly based on big data samples retrieved from students’ campus card consumption.

The practice has won praise from many students and teachers of the university as it was intended to help students, whilst also protecting their privacy.

“I noticed the extra money in my campus card. It was so warm and considerate of our university to help us in this way,” said a student in School of Computer Science and Technology, CUMT, disclosing that before checking with the financial aid management center, he was surprised at the short message in his cell phone and thought it was a fraud.

“Privacy protection is also an important part of our job. The reason why we put money secretly into their account is that we want to help them without hurting their dignity,” said a staff member of the university’s financial aid management center, explaining that they didn’t release the name list in public, but sent short messages to remind those students who were offered the help.

According to the above center, this just revealed one of the university’s various measures to provide financial and material help for impoverished students. The university also sends out 800 special cards every year, with each card being worth 100 yuan. Impoverished students can use the cards to get school supplies.

Besides this, CUMT offers train tickets and winter clothes to poor students, helping them to return home during vacations and stay warm in winter.

Many other Chinese universities have also introduced similar low-profile ways of offering financial aid to impoverished students by putting money into students’ campus cards.

Xidian University, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, and Zhengzhou University have all provided aid for poor students in similar ways.