Several colleges in China, where nearly all universities are public and run by the government, are hiking their tuitions sharply -- in some cases by almost 50% -- as their debts have mounted due to rising overhead costs over the past decade, state media reports said over the weekend. The provincial government of China's southeastern province of Zhejiang, one of the country's most affluent and densely populated, has held a public hearing for their first proposed tuition hike in 14 years among all the 60 public colleges in the province, the state-run Modern Money Report said Saturday. The cost of running the schools has been climbing, sending the total debt of Zhejiang's public colleges to 9.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) as of the end of 2013, official statistics showed. According to the proposal, tuitions for medicine and engineering majors at the first-tier Zhejiang University would increase to 6,300 yuan ($1,014) per year from the current 4,800 yuan ($773). The same majors at the smaller colleges in the province would see their tuitions spike to 5,800 yuan from 3,960 yuan. Several other Chinese provinces, including Jiangsu, Shandong, and Fujian, have already raised college tuitions by 20% to 36% in their provinces over the past year, the report said.

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