On Aug. 17, 41 public universities announced the abolition of admission fees, starting the upcoming year. The government’s project to gradually abolish admission fees was put into action to lighten the financial burden on university students. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is pressuring private universities to do the same.
Government projects to abolish or decrease university admission fees have been continuously discussed, but never implemented. Public universities agreed to decrease admission fees gradually to one-fifth of the current amount by the next decade. The MOE is planning to establish a council comprised of directors of Office of University Planning and Coordination from different private universities for further discussion.
According to “Higher Education in Korea,” a website that provides statistics of all Korean universities, the average admission fee of 248 universities in 2017 was 570,000 won. Public universities averaged a 143,000 won, and privates averaged 678,000 won. For three weeks starting from Aug. 28, the MOE will be examining university admission fees, specifically on the spending and arrangement process.
“Although I paid my admission fee, I am not sure of its usage,” said Yang Da-hye, a freshman studying mathematics. “The government’s initiative is great, but without specific measures universities may face financial difficulties or choose to increase tuition instead, which will make no difference.”
Currently the admission fee of Ewha is 945,000 won. According to the Budget Department, this admission fee is collected under article 11 of the higher education act, as an addition to the registration fee for the betterment of education and research. The budgeting department said it would be willing to adjust the admission fee according to the altered legislation.
Meanwhile, many private universities are expressing difficulties in abolishing or decreasing their admission fee. Flexible measures considering the financial situation of each university is needed.