Navigating Our Post-secondary Education Network

With a stellar global reputation for higher education, Hong Kong is a great place for your kids to complete their education, or for you to embark on academic studies once more, whether it’s enrolling on that MBA to sharpen your business knowledge and management skills or completing an MA in something that’s always interested you. At present, there are 22 local degree-awarding post-secondary institutions in Hong Kong, 9 of which are publicly-funded and 13 are self-financing.  Starting from the 2024/25 academic year, the admission quota of non-local students to Government-funded post-secondary institutions will be doubled to 40%.

Before you start scouring university websites for the perfect course, rest assured that Hong Kong’s higher education institutions are recognised as leading institutions on various international league tables.  Five of our institutions ranked top 100 in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2024, i.e. The University of Hong Kong at #26, the Chinese University of Hong Kong at #47, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology at #60, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University at #65 and City University of Hong Kong at #70.  Our business administration programmes are among the best in the world.  Our universities are also committed to world-class researches in diversified fields and have won global recognitions.  The University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities provide first-class research environment that facilitates scholars’ pursuit of research excellence.

Other than the UGC-funded universities, there is a vibrant self-financing post-secondary education sector in Hong Kong comprising a diverse range of institutions, from private universities providing applied and liberal arts education, to specialised boutique institutions providing healthcare or early childhood education. Hong Kong has a robust and stringent quality assurance regime for the self-financing post-secondary sector.  It is administered by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ). Its stringent standards made it  internationally recognised as the only quality assurance agency in Asia Pacific to attain recognition by both International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education and European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Hoping to get into a university in Hong Kong? Local students taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) at Hong Kong’s public secondary schools, with a minimum of level 3 for Chinese Language and English Language, level 2 for Mathematics Compulsory Part, and ‘Attained’ for Citizenship and Social Development, are eligible to apply for the undergraduate programmes offered by the UGC-funded institutions. For non-local students, don’t fret: internationally recognised curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and General Certificate of Education (GCE), among many others, are widely recognised by universities and post-secondary institutions in Hong Kong.

In addition to publicly-funded programmes, students can choose a wide range of self-financing undergraduate and sub-degree programmes, subsidised by the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) and the Non-means-tested Subsidy Scheme for Self-financing Undergraduate Studies in Hong Kong (NMTSS), and various vocational and professional education and training (VPET) programmes that best suit their interests and ability, which covers a diverse range of programmes with an applied focus from Applied Degrees in Nursing and Hospitality Management to Higher Diplomas in Mechanical Engineering and Construction Technology.

Once you, or your kids, have found the right course and received a school acceptance letter, what’s next? For non-local students without a dependant visa, a student visa from the Immigration Department will be required. In addition, you’ll also need to note that tuition fees may vary widely according to institutions and programmes of study. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, for example, international students pay HK$145,000 (around US$18,000) per annum. However, dependants who have received Hong Kong permanent resident status can enjoy the local tuition fees, which are as low as HK$42,100 (around US$5,363) per annum for the UGC-funded programmes.

Before you start getting out the calculator and doing the budgeting, you may be interested to know that there are multiple scholarship funds available for top talents. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship awards HK$80,000 (approximately US$10,300) per year for non-local students, recognising the achievements attained in the eight UGC-funded universities, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and the Vocational Training Council. An equivalent scholarship is provided for non-local students with outstanding performance pursuing self-financing programmes under the Self-financing Post-secondary Scholarship Scheme. Established to attract more outstanding students from countries and regions along the Belt and Road, the Belt and Road Scholarship provides financial support for those attending publicly-funded university studies in Hong Kong.

After completing your study with qualifications and profound knowledge, it’s time to enter the world of work in Hong Kong, where there’s a buoyant job market. Demand for talent has reached a post-COVID-19 epidemic high, and Hong Kong job postings increased by more than 30% in the second quarter of 2023, according to Links International. A quick tip for non-local recent graduates looking for a longer stay for a job search: apply for Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) scheme within six months after the date of your graduation from universities in Hong Kong or GBA campus. Simply fill in the application form ID 990A, printed or online, and submit all supporting documents in accordance with the Immigration Department. You may be granted up to two years of extension of stay.

Not a graduate of Hong Kong or GBA campus but keen to apply to come and work in the city? You can explore the Top Talent Pass Schemes (TTPS), which provides up to 24 months of stay to degree graduates of the world’s top 100 universities in the past five years.  It usually takes just four weeks for the Immigration Department to process visa applications under the schemes upon receipt of all the required documents.  In a bid to attract top talents to Hong Kong, there are many more admissions schemes for professionals from different backgrounds, click here for more information.