KOSAF received more than one million applications for the scholarships, which are funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, at the end of last year. The aim of this scholarship is to help motivated students devote themselves to their studies without the burden of education costs.
The newly organized scholarship program is classified into two types, depending on the income levels of the applicants’ families.
Students from families in the lower 30 percent income group can apply for both type I and II, and students from families in the lower 70 percent income group may apply for type II. Those who want to receive either type of scholarships should get grades more than eighty out of a hundred total. Simply put, as for Ewha, applicants’ grade point average must exceed 3.44 out of 4.3.
As a general rule, students who took more than 12 credits and met the grade requirement during the previous semester have a higher chance of receiving the scholarships. However, in the case of type II scholarships and for disabled students, those who received more than 70 points might qualify for a scholarship depending on each school’s financial condition.
The new government scholarships benefited many students, such as Park Jin-young (Duksung Women’s University, 4), who received financial support from KOSAF this semester.
“I received both type I and type II scholarship, in total worth 800,000 won. Considering another scholarship worth 700,000 won from my school, it paid around half of my tuition so it lightened my burden,” Park said.
Despite the obvious contribution to the financial situations of needy students, specific information about the scholarship such as qualification criteria is not open to the public, leading to grudges among many students.
“I did not fully know about the scholarship, I blindly applied for it since my school urged students to do so. Even though I received the scholarship, I still do not know the specific selection criteria,” Lee Yeon-joo (Sociology, 2) said.
Because the new scholarship was introduced at the national level, some students got less financial aid in total than before.
“When receiving a school scholarship only, I used to get a minimum of approximately 1,000,000 won and once received a scholarship covering 70 percent of my tuition fee, considering my family’s income tax. However, this semester, the total amount of financial support is less than before, considering financial aid from both KOSAF and from my school,” said one Hanyang University student, who wished to remain anonymous.
“The criteria of the scholarship program do not seem to be applied to all the students in fair ways.”
According to one of the staffs of the Student Welfare Center of Ewha, who wanted to stay anonymous, the criteria are vague because the relevant ministry and organization did not entirely have jurisdiction over the distribution of the scholarship.
“KOSAF is directly in charge of the type I scholarship however, in the case of the type II scholarship, it is assigned to each university as allowing each school to allocate the scholarships to its students.”