The People’s Republic of China may not have enough colleges. And so, in what is still a novelty for this communist nation, they’ve got private universities.

According to an article by Sarah Butrymowicz in the Washington Post:

The number of private universities in China has soared to more than 630, up from 20 in 1997, according to a 2010 analysis from the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. In all, the private institutions enrolled about a fifth of Chinese college students in 2008.

In the late 1990s, fewer than 10 percent of Chinese age 18 to 22 were enrolled in higher education, according to government data. Now the figure is about 27 percent — or 30 million students — and the government hopes to reach 40 percent by 2020. If China is successful, it will have more than 40 million students in college. That would be roughly double the projected total for the United States. The U.S. population, however, is significantly lower than China’s.

There’s a great deal in this article about these private schools competing with China’s existing public universities but in reality it’s compete in a very creative sense. Most of these private schools seem to exist mostly for vocational training.

Many of these institutions train people to be security guards or automobile mechanics.

These schools are about twice as expensive. According to the article such schools can cost Chinese students $1,500 a year. Public institutions cost about $750 a year.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer