Since 2016 the government has continually invested in education to cultivate talent and achieve educational equality. This has included raising childrearing allowances for children ages 0 to 6; expanding affordable education and care services; reducing student-teacher ratios; upgrading and improving campus environments at the high school level and below; caring for rural and economically disadvantaged students; and promoting the Higher Education Sprout Project.
In addition, in June 2023 the Executive Yuan passed a NT$21.9 billion (US$706.5 million) plan with complementary measures to reduce the disparity between the costs of attending public versus private schools. At the core of the plan is a fixed-sum waiver to alleviate the higher costs of tuition and other fees at private universities and colleges. This is complemented by three further measures: increased subsidies for tuition and other fees for economically disadvantaged students at public and private universities and colleges; free tuition for all students at senior and vocational high schools; and improved student loan application and repayment measures. The goal of these measures is to achieve significant progress toward the development of a national youth care policy for ages 0 to 22.
■ Fixed-sum waiver to alleviate public-private tuition and fees gap: The annual cost of tuition and other fees at private universities and colleges is on average NT$50,000 (US$1,613) higher per student than at equivalent public educational institutions. To alleviate this discrepancy, undergraduates studying at private universities and colleges (including five-year junior college students in the final two years of their studies) will qualify for a waiver of NT$35,000 (US$1,129) per annum against the cost of tuition and other fees, thereby expanding the level of care for students in tertiary education aged 18 to 22.
■ Increased subsidies for disadvantaged students at public and private universities and colleges: Students from families with an annual income of NT$700,000 (US$22,584) or less will qualify for an annual fixed-sum waiver of NT$20,000 (US$645) against tuition and other fees. The waiver is adjusted to NT$15,000 (US$484) for students from households with an annual income of between NT$700,000 and NT$900,000 (US$29,036).
■ Free tuition for all senior and vocational high school students: The plan extends free tuition to include students receiving general education at senior high schools, as well as second and third-year students receiving academic curricula at comprehensive senior high schools, both categories from families with an annual income of more than NT$1.48 million (US$47,748). This means that all students attending public and private senior and vocational high schools are now eligible for free tuition.
■ Improved student loan application and repayment measures: The plan lowers the loan application threshold and incorporates the number of children raised in a household as a criterion to expand the scope of interest-free loans for enrolled students. In addition, the number of times a student loan borrower may apply for a loan deferment (principal and interest) or apply for an interest-only repayment will increase to 12 applications within a 12-year period. The maximum monthly salary cutoff for a student loan deferment application (principal and interest) will also be adjusted up to NT$50,000 (US$1,613).