Endless Arguments of Korean Universities’ Scholarship Benefit Standards
Why still Korean universities students’ tuition is not half price? When Park Geun-hye administration was established, the argument surrounding Korean universities tuition was embroiled in controversy. As eight of ten high school graduates go to universities, almost all universities students undergo difficulties of expensive tuition in Korea. Actually, average cost of Korean private universities tuition ranks second, following America about 7.68 million won per year. However, over 70% universities in America are national universities so American have lower tuition burden. On the other hand, only 18% of Korean universities are private. Although universities education is not compulsory education in foreign countries same with Korea, government support is different. OECD countries bear 70% high educational expenses, but Korea accounts for only about 20%. Korean universities students usually make a goal to receive scholarship to lighten the burden of high tuition. However, it is still hard to receive scholarship due to selective standards. Recently, arguments of Korean universities’ scholarship benefit standards are raising. Public opinion welfare scholarship that it should be given to needed students are spreading. Also, many agreed that fundamental problem, too expensive tuition problem should be solved first.
Kinds of University Scholarship and Benefit Standards
In case of freshmen scholarship, the pay is divided differently according to admission selections. Generally, scholarship is provided to students who got excellent results from KSAT for certain period. Nowadays a lot of Korean universities offer students in specific department school promote. Enrolled students can receive scholarship for students who got excellent results in GPA. The head of one’s class, grade and departments are kinds of that scholarship. Every department and university have different application criteria in that scholarship. However, even top student cannot receive reduction total amount of tuition. Many students are complaint about this rule.
Except scholarship for students who got excellent results in GPA, students can receive if their GPA is improved sharply. Chung-Ang university offers students Chung-Ang Sa-rang scholarship to stimulate students study hard. The difference with excellent results in GPA scholarship is that it is provided differently to students according to income. This point is really related to division on low-income group argument. According to movement which tries to expand welfare scholarship for needed students, how we can divide low-income group is the question surrounding this movement.
Many people evaluate that it is difficult to grasp all families’ property income exactly. Representative example is state scholarship which is translated into action. Even though it is started with purpose to increase support for low-income group, many experts analyzed that it is not effective because it is hard to select low-income group with absence of exact selection standard. Rather, many students in low-income families drop out of benefit selection for distribution. As it proves, it is difficult to select low-income students and fair standard to divide income is absent in Korea so far. Except these, scholarships for volunteers who contributed to school development or passed state examination are existed.
Scholarship, Is It for Students or School?
From Scholarship for Grades to Income
‘Need Based’, movement that scholarship should be provided to low-income students because expensive tuition can be problem for survival is spread all over the world. In foreign countries, it is rare to find scholarship only provided by students’ grade or GPA. American universities such as IVY League also provide need based scholarship according to income standard. Furthermore, American universities arrange some detail application methods to prevent misuse and moral laxity of this system. The representative method is giving allotment to students and parents or adapting detail ways together such as working in the school building. Many Korean students and parents support to this trend and empathize to purpose of welfare scholarship because students are affected by the variation of scholarship system directly to their lives. In general, students who want to receive scholarship for grades should get high GPA and it is required to study hard for long time. However, many Koreans burdened with high tuition should do part-time job and they cannot manage a lot of time to study. Therefore, generally low-income students are difficult to receive scholarship in school these days. Due to this reality, many Korean universities students emphasize that low-income students cannot receive scholarship in school.
Interview with Chung-Ang University Dean of Students Affairs
CAH : What is Chung-Ang university’s stance about the trend of welfare scholarship extension?
Noh : We have plan to place a greater emphasis on welfare scholarship gradually. In order to make low-income students can concentrate upon their academic works, Chung-Ang university will increase welfare scholarship. In fact, scholarship for excellent GPA is continuously decreased. In 2013, it was 22.5%, 21.2% in 2014 and 18.5% in 2015. There are also opposites who disagree with extension of welfare scholarship and highlight opinion that scholarship for excellent GPA can stimulate students’ studying hard and creating an academic atmosphere. However, it is still difficult to adapt one method because both sides are tense. Chung-Ang is trying to manage rational and fair scholarship system for students with researching other countries’ universities systems. Also, scholarship program creation for giving students competence improvement opportunities is also examined.
Examples of Korean Universities
First of all, Korea university chose income as standard for scholarship. Korea university abolished scholarship for excellent GPA from last year. Instead, welfare scholarship for low-income students expanded for 20 billion won. They focused on low-income rather than high GPA as criteria for providing scholarship. However, problems such as absence of communication between school and students arose. Many students persist that this immature procedure caused many problems and confusion. Some insist that this system forces students to prove poverty. Students who want to receive welfare scholarship should write and submit application. This application requests student how they are difficult to pay tuition and have economic difficulties. Many students feel sense of shame to write.
Ewha Woman university leads reduction of scholarship for excellent GPA. They abolished Excellent2 scholarship which was given to students who got over 3.75 GPA. Instead, Ewha is promoting scholarship for future design which can help low-income students’ careers. Some estimated that this movement made chance to students develop their abilities independently of their incomes. However, some insist that it can weaken students’ academic volition rather than abilities development. Also, existed external scholarship systems consider income as standard more than in school. In case of students who could receive school scholarship due to following reason, they lose method to receive scholarship.
The Road Korean Universities Should Go
It is not a matter of choosing either excellent grade or income as standard of scholarship. However, trend what is more important on standard is reflected on system. Scholarship system affects directly to universities students and parents, so it should be considered with the greatest care nationally and each university. Especially, in Korea, most of the students go to universities and government do not intervene a lot on high education, scholarship system should be detailed. Research below foreign countries universities system is also needed and important, but reflecting as it is can be dangerous and ineffective. Coordinating to Korean society and feedback should be needed. As Korea university case showed, communication between school and students should be existed because scholarship system is keen to everyone. Various methods can be used to increase scholarship rate. The good example is Hongik university, top honor of scholarship payment rate among private universities in Korea. They still effort to increase scholarship rate. Administrative staffs in Hongik are trying to decrease unnecessary expense through various methods such as not using business credit card. As a result, about 40 billion-won are used for scholarship per year in Hongik university. Argument toward expensive tuition is still controversial. Korean universities should express their position to make students to accept expensive tuition.
Koreans’ private burden on public education is top honor among OECD countries. Enrollment expense and tuition also top in the world. Some policies to decrease universities’ tuition and increase national scholarship are emerged, but theory and reality are different. In fact, many low-income students do not receive benefits due to inaccurate income measurement. Although still many universities students suffer from burden of tuition, many have doubts about scholarship standard. Scholarship for excellent grade can stimulate student high motivation, but there is less possibility to receive for low-income students. However, welfare scholarship has advantage of income redistribution and disadvantage of weakening academic motivation. Korean universities should shed light on scholarship system and reflect circumstances Korean society faced. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >