As many as 30,000 university vacancies will be reserved for rural high school students in this year\'s university admissions plan, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Education\'s website on Tuesday. Rural education, which often lags behind that of urban areas, reduces rural students\' chances of attending good universities in China. Raising the amount of rural students at leading universities will promote educational and social equality and is necessary for improving the quality of higher education, the statement added. The number of poverty-stricken counties covered by the plan will reach 832 this year, up from 680 in 2012, according to the statement. An estimated 8.6-percent more rural students are expected to enroll in the country\'s leading universities this year than last year, according to the statement. Statistics from the ministry show that the national average college admission rate was 8.5 percent in 2011, while the number for the 680 impoverished counties stood at just 5.7 percent. The ministry will also push forward renovation work in rural schools and high school construction in areas with concentrations of ethnic minorities, according to the statement.