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UGC Clarifies Reports on PCLL

The University Grants Committee (UGC) wishes to clarify recent reports suggesting a reduction of funded student places for the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) programmes and the UGC not allowing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to charge the same fee on all its PCLL students.

On the number of UGC funded PCLL student places, the UGC has not reduced the number in 2005/06 to 2007/08- it has remained at the same level as in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

Many reports have misunderstood the position when reporting HKU's plan to increase tuition fee for its PCLL programme. To ensure the quality of UGC-funded programmes and to avoid dilution of resources, the UGC requires that there should be no cross-subsidy of self-financing courses and activities by the resources received from the UGC. In other words, UGC funds can only be used for UGC-funded programmes and their students. Should there be any self-financing programmes offered by institutions, they should be funded by such things as tuition fees, donations or other non-UGC sources of income. This arrangement applies to all UGC-funded programmes.

Regarding the PCLL programme at the HKU, the University offers self-financing student places on top of the UGC-funded places. To follow the principle of no cross-subsidiztion of self-financing activities by public funds, HKU has decided to charge different fees on these two groups of students. We consider this a more appropriate and transparent way- rather than charging the same fees to both group of students- and this is also fairer to other institutions. UGC-funded students thus are not required to pay a higher fee to subsidise self-financing students.

We hope that the above information will help the public to understand our position better.

University Grants Committee
17 February 2005