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   02-05-2008 16:40
Student Up in Arms Over Tuition Hikes

A student protests against unitersities' tuition hikes in front of the transition team's office last week. / Yonhap
By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Korean parents toil for years to support their kids getting into universities _ they spend an enormous amount of money on private tutoring for their children. The admission ticket to a university, however, is the beginning of another agony. Their woes are deepening ever as schools are rushing to raise tuition, citing various factors.

One note posted on a picket at a rally by students against tuition hikes reads: ``Mom and pa, sorry for being a university student.'' The line showcases the anxiety of students and their parents.

This year, most universities will increase tuition from anywhere between 10 to 20 percent. This means university fees can surpass 10 million won per year. A lot of students may have to do more part-time jobs and parents may have to tap loans.

``A lot of students now spend more time at their part-time jobs rather than the library due to rocketing tuition fees,'' said Sung Chi-hoon, president of the student association at Yonsei University.

Yonsei is expected to increase tuition fees by 8.9 percent. Other private universities are also increasing their tuition fees _ Ewha Womans University by 7.7 percent; Chung-Ang University, 6.8 percent; and Hanyang University, 7.82 percent.

State-owned universities will also increase tuition fees although they charge much less than private schools. Seoul National University seeks to increase its fees by 6.2 percent; Chungbuk National University by 14.5 percent; and Kangwon University by 12 percent.

Call for Government Action

The increase is much more than last year's inflation rate of 2-3 percent, Sung said. ``It's simply unreasonable. The pace is too fast,'' he added.

The hikes can put more financial burdens on freshmen and their families as they also have to pay extra admission fees of millions of won.

A freshman entering the medical college at Korea University, which plans a 7.5 percent increase, has to pay 16 million won in tuition and admission fees for the first year.

High tuition sometimes deprives those from other regions of a chance to study at prestigious universities in Seoul.

``My friends also worry about high tuition at Seoul universities even though they got admission,'' Kim So-yeon, 19, from Gangwon Province, said. ``Many of them decided to enter a nearby national university although they want to move to Seoul and study there. They can't afford the high fees in Seoul.''

Despite growing concerns, most universities claim that the increase is inevitable for the development of school and the improvement of educational quality.

``We must raise fees as we have to finance projects to improve the quality of education and hire more talented professors,'' said Lee Tae-young, in charge of university planning and development at Yonsei.

University student councils have taken collective action against the hikes, calling for government countermeasures.

Student associations from Seoul-based universities formed a union named the Student Union for Changing the World and staged a protest Monday in front of the presidential transition committee's office recently.

The members of the union demanded the upcoming government take action to regulate tuition fee increases and provide more support to private schools. They said the government's subsidies to schools are very low in comparison to those in other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

As of 2003, the Korean government's investment for high-level education makes up only 0.6 percent of gross domestic product, much less than the 1.1 percent average of OECD member countries, the union said.

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Bad language will not be tolerated. All comments considered discriminatory against race or sex, or which are considered offensive against certain people, will be eliminated by the manager. Violators will be deprived of their membership. Should problems continue we have no choice but to block all comment postings. We appreciate your understanding.
hitest   (   02-12-2008 19:46
I had to take a year off university to work and save money even though I worked every summer vacation. Then it took me ten years to pay off my government student loans. I am proud to have put myself through university and think all Koreans should have the same opportunity.
hitest   (   02-12-2008 19:43
Have much higher taxes for the insainly rich and lower taxes for lower income families. Parents are spending so much on private education, if they were relieved of that burden, they could easily handle an increased tax with the savings.
hitest   (   02-12-2008 19:41
Close down the non-specialized Hogwans run by uncertified educators. From the parents' savings, increase taxes, improve the public education system with the monies and provide more government funding for universities,low interest student loans with deffered payments so students can take on the burden of some if not all of their own university costs.
1chris   (   02-08-2008 22:09
looza yakooza nobody needs to listen to your nazi propaganda! KOREA IS A GOOD COUNTRY!
whitewonsoongi   (   02-08-2008 21:57
Monkey see, monkey do. Gooksrugly has to copy my original thoughts in every post. See, this is why kojaengi chimps like him are spit on by blacks, Asians and Hispanics all over the world. Your momma shave her nipples yet? If so, let me know and I'll let her suck my dick for $5. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
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