Killing tuition fee eats up students’ college lives
Killing tuition fee eats up students’ college lives
  • Shim Su-min & Jang Youn-hee
  • 승인 2011.05.08 18:57
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Struggles against high tuition fee continues
On May 1, presidents of Student Government Association from various universities including Ewha Womans University and Korea University are having their heads shaved crying out for the government to materialize “half tuition fee” policy. The president of Ewha SGA, Ryu Ea-seul (Political Science, 4) (second from right) is joining the protest.
Kim Ji-su (Korean, 2), who wishes to use an assumed name, got a student loan of 3,700,000 won last semester. Considering the eight percent interest rate and uncertainty of the future, in other words, no guarantee of Kim’s employment after graduation, having a debt in the age of 21 is a great burden indeed; but there wasn’t any option available to Kim besides getting a student loan.
 “I tried to apply for a scholarship program but my family income was a little higher than the condition, but I could not ask my parents for the tuition fee anymore. So I decided to get a loan for my fnal choice to attend school,” Kim said.
However, her concern for money goes on even after paying the tuition fee with student loan. To avoid getting a loan again next semester and to earn some basic living expenses, she tutors four students during the semester.
“I practically don’t have anytime for my own study in a day time or time for some leisure. It’s almost a daily routine for me to stay up all night when there are assignments or exams,”Kim said.
Four-year University’s tuition fee increased up to 80 percent in ten years, which is three times higher than the infation rate according to the Ministry of Education Science, and Technology.
Furthermore, a portal site, Jobkorea reported in August 2010 that 27 percent of students have taken time off from school because of the unprepared tuition fee.As students’ financial pain increases and more students became aware this issue as a serious social problem, many student
actions began to take place, asking for the government level measures to protect students’ rights for education. Unlike conventional struggles against high tuition fee which continued only for a few weeks in March, students this year continue to struggle even until May.
On March 30, Sogang University contrived a student meeting in 22 years, gathering 1,200 students. On the next day, SGA of Korea University held the student meeting and around 2,200 students gathered crying out for the withdrawal of tuition increase. Other universities including Kyunghee University, Sejong University, and Soongsil University also held the student meetings in April.
 On May 1, 300 students from various universities including Ewha Womans University and Korea University held a protest at Deoksugung and had their heads shaved asking the government to materialize half-tuition fee policy.
“Students’ struggle this year is an overall reflection of students’ financial difficulties,
fear for uncertain future, and disappointment toward the government, which didn’t keep the ‘half tuition fee’ promise,” said An Jin-gul, the assistant administrator of Edufree, a national network that aims to resolve the problems of high tuition fee.
 Ewha students are also ardently making voices for the matter. On March 31, 2,000 students gathered for the student meeting and made the agreement to hold the five-day-long protest. As the agreement, students held the protest from April 4, rejecting to attend mandatory chapel. Around 400 students participated in the protest per day, asking for the school to take back its policy
to  raise fve percent of the freshmen’s tuition fee.
On April 8, as the school did not accept the students’demand, sevenSGA members made “three steps, one bow”pilgrimage from the Ewha front gate to the Pfeiffer Hall.
“Many students are suffering from the high tuition fee. In such condition, students cannot focus on studying. The SGA is planning to solve the problem by making students’ voices in various ways. We will continue the protest by building national wide ties with many universities,” said Kim Ji-young (Philosophy, 3) the vice president of the SGA.

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