Issuing of state sponsored scholarships is a policy intended to minimize the financial burden low-income college students. The program distributes 3 trillion 450 million won of financial aid. This year marks the programs third year in operation and some universities have already been observed misusing the government’s financial support. In fact those in the urgent situation of requiring help from a state scholarship are often not getting a helping hand but rather the money is being taken by universities for their own good.
Among all South Korean universities, 288 universities are receiving aid for state scholarship for students from the government. However, after inspecting 122 universities on how well the system is being regulated and administrated, about 57%, over a majority were violating regulations. This is an enormous figure as not all the universities have been inspected. Yet more than 70 institutions have already been found to be misusing the money from scholarship program. Some universities are using the money to pay employees’ salaries and are showing insufficient management in taking disciplinary action and reporting the results of these inspection measures. Not only is the problem of insufficient management, but also of funding being delayed. The goal of these state scholarships is to reduce the amount of payment or at least partially reduce the amount of payments according to one’s household income. However, even those students who enrolled on time are receiving support funds one or two months late. As low income groups are the main claimants of these benefits, they are greatly influenced when the support funding does not come in on time in situations where they have not raised enough money to meet their needs. This leads some students to face the reality of having to quickly take out a loan that could eventually ruin their future and studies.
However, at this time when problems have appeared, the government and the universities are busy shifting blames onto each other’s shoulders. The teaching faculty in a Seoul private university avoided their responsibility saying “Even if students register on time, the scholarship foundation does not send out the evaluation on time and sometimes several hundred do not get evaluated till we notify students of the exemption benefit.” On the other hand, the man in charge of the Korea Student Aid Foundation asserted that there is no problem in the foundation with its administration.
Universities should put more effort into managing the budget of this program effectively, as funds being sent from the government are being used in unnecessary spending. Moreover, as this system was proposed as an alternative to assist in the difficulty of funding tuition by cutting college tuition in half, the Ministry of Education should devise a strategy to expand the financial investment in educational institutions. For whom this system was instituted and the question of who should receive the benefits needs to be reconsidered.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >