On Oct.14, Korea University decided to stop providing approximately 2.3 billion won worth of merit-based scholarships and instead expand need-based scholarships for students from low income families. To further illustrate, the school also expanded their need-based scholarships into three different categories, respectively named Freedom, Justice, and Truth. Freedom scholarships are payments for students’ self-governing activities or student labor allowances. Justice scholarships are given to students after inspecting their individual financial or family backgrounds. Truth scholarship supports students’ overseas studying or programs boosting their language skills. In the case of Ewha Womans University, the school abandoned a merit-based scholarship which distributed 500,000 won to students with GPA of over 3.75.
Sogang University also expanded need-based scholarships while reducing the merit-based one by one-sixth of its original fund. Also the school decided to install “concession policy,” in which students can yield their grade-based scholarships to others in need. Chung-ang University is considering the gradual reduction of the merit-based scholarships which accounts for the 20 percent of all scholarships, starting from next year.
Toward these schools’ movement, students showed mixed opinions. While some students welcomed the decision, others showed concerns over the fairness of criteria for choosing beneficiaries. Especially, some students pinpiointed the problems of current standards selecting the receivers for national scholarships or need-based scholarships
“For instance, if self-employed parents have their business registered under another person’s name, their child can receive need-based scholarships as he or she satisfies the standards on the surface, even though his or her parents actually have a steady income,” said Jeong Min-jeong from Department of Nutritional Science & Food Management. “However, students with parents who are government or company workers do not receive such benefits.”
However, there were also students supporting the universities’ shift for student support.
“Although there were need-based scholarships before the expansion, the students who were within the dead zone could not properly receive the benefits,” said Kang Min-jung of Korea University. “Due to financial burden, students would take part-time jobs to pay for their tuition, making them unable to fully concentrate on their studies. So I do agree with the school’s plan to expanding the benefits of need-based scholarships for those in need.”
Along with providing full scholarship for students with low income, Ewha Womans University has expanded its range in need-based scholarships on various forms.
“From 2015, scholarships for freshmen have diversified, such as major leadership scholarships so that each college can freely choose their recipients. Also, the school has expanded support on exchange students programs and overseas study,” said Seo Jae- hee, the deputy of Scholarship and Welfare.
“Moreover, we have established Ewha Future Planning Scholarship so that each student may receive scholarships for their individual and creative career plans.”