Types of Colleges and Universities in China

In China, according to ownership-based categories of HEIs, the higher education can be divided into two categories---State-owned or government-owned HEIs, including Regular HEIs, Independent Institutions, Higher Vocational Colleges, Adult HEIs, and non-government or private universities. Due to the long-time influence by Soviet Union and late development of private universities, it has deeply rooted in Chinese heart that government-owned is much better than private ones. Regular HEIs is the cornerstone in China’s higher education, while private universities development could not be ignored.

According to the latest data(2015) of People's Republic of China Ministry of Education, total number of Chinese National Higher Institutions is 2845, including 2,553 National General Colleges and Universities and 292 Adult Higher Institutions. Government-owned HEIs are likely to receive more policy and finance support from official level.

Compared with state-owned universities, private universities’ development is in an awkward position. Different with private universities in Western world, China’s private education is a complement to public universities to meet the needs for those who failed in their college entrance examination and who could not afford the tuition fees to study abroad. Due to the large population, Chinese public universities are impossible to satisfy everyone’s needs. Under this condition, private universities of China come into being. The advantages of their professional setting that more in line with market requirements could not make up for the lack of financial funds and students. Actually, these two factors are equal. The source of funds for them depends largely on students’ tuition fees.

Except of competition from public universities and other sino-foreign cooperative private institution, the most deadly weakness is that Chinese officials deny acknowledging their degree. In Private Education Promotion Law of the People’s Republic of China, it clearly indicates that “Private university degree is that national recognition of the non national education series, belonging to private colleges awarded diplomas”.

Though followed by “The educated in Private colleges enjoy the same level and rights in further education, employment, social welfare, and participation in advanced selection with the educated public schools” , it can hardly compensate the flaw that the degree belonging to only private colleges awarded diplomas, but no acknowledgement by officials.

C9 League
The C9 League (simplified Chinese: 九校联盟; traditional Chinese: 九校聯盟) is an official alliance of nine elite and prestigious universities in mainland China, initiated by the Chinese Central Government through Project 985 to promote the development and reputation of Higher education in China. Together they account for 3% of the country's researchers but receive 10% of national research expenditures. People's Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, refers to the C9 League as China's Ivy League.

This group of 9 elite universities includes Fudan University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Xi'an Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University.

Many other lists of elite Chinese universities exists. The C9 League dominates in terms of faculty recruitment, with disproportionate numbers of faculty who receive China's top two academic awards: the Changjiang (Yangtze River) Scholar award and the Thousand Talents Professorship.