The State Council has passed an amendment on Aug. 22 that prevents students from getting an excess amount of student aid from the government. Starting from this semester, students cannot receive funds that exceed their university tuition, and those who have received an excessive amount of grants, loans, or a combination of both must return it.
Along with universities and public institutions, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has offered various student aid programs to reduce students’ financial burden, including grants and scholarships, student loans, and sharing or volunteering.
In some cases, however, students were able to apply for more than one student aid program, which resulted in certain students receiving more aid than needed and others consequently receiving less.
Last year, 33,538 students received an excess of student aid, and the excess amount they have not yet returned reach about 33.2 billion won, according to data from the MOE. Noticing this unequal distribution of student aid, the State Council recently passed the related amendment.
According to the amendment, the MOE and Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF) will notify those who have received an excess amount of student aid of the reason for return, the amount of aid that needs to be returned, and the period in which they have to return it. However, some students may be excluded from having to return if their income levels and other factors are considered exceptional.
The Scholarship and Financial Policy Division of MOE believes that the returned aid will be given to an even wider range of students.
“The changed system will help us support more students financially by preventing the concentration of student aid,” explained Ryu Seung-ui, Assistant Director of the Scholarship and Financial Policy Division of the MOE.
Students have shown positive responses towards the new policy.
“I am glad that more students can receive student aid,” said Hyun Jae-min, a freshman of Sungkyunkwan University. “I hope that with the aid returned, the KOSAF will provide scholarships for more students who are not qualified for aid to help cover their full tuition.”