Students who paid for the tuition fee in the past spring semester received a Special Scholarship from the school on Aug. 31.
Due to the situation of COVID-19, students have consistently complained about the deteriorated quality of online courses. This included issues such as poor accessibility to school facilities and lack of communication between students and professors.
In response to this, the school decided to uniformly provide students with five percent return from the actual tuition paid for the spring semester called the Special Scholarship.
Similarly, the school implemented the COVID-19 Relief Scholarship last semester along with faculty members, alumni, and sponsors to help students suffering from financial difficulties following the prolonged pandemic.
Ewha students have consistently demanded the return of tuition fees to the school. The 52nd General Student Council, Emotion, has taken action to deal with this issue during the first semester, through emergency sit-ins, a protest in front of the Dean's office, and more. However, the student council claimed the school was lacking communication, and not reflecting their requests.
“Last semester, it was unfortunate that the school stuck to its stance in spite of the students’ consistent requests for the tuition refund since February,” stated Oh Hee-ah, the president of 52nd General Student Council. “But we appreciate that the school put efforts to better communicate with the student council to discuss matters of Special Scholarship.”
An administrative staff from the Scholarship and Welfare team mentioned that the returning rate of five percent was a predetermined figure, so there is nothing to say about the determination process.
At the end of August, president Kim Hei-sook sent an email to all students, stating that the revenue of the university has decreased due to the pandemic. For example, the expense to disinfect the campus has increased and the number of international students declined last semester. Regardless, the scholarship was given to lessen the economic burden of undergraduates.
The 52nd General Student Council also conducted a survey gathering students’ opinions on the given scholarship. Majority of the students answered that the rate of the scholarship should be at least 15 percent of the tuition fee.
The school had allegedly promised to explain to students about the determination process of the current fixed five percent figure. This is yet to occur.
“We delivered the tuition return ratio demanded by the students several times through the meeting, but the school said it was best to return 5 percent of the amount due to financial difficulties.” Oh said.
She also added that while there are some regrets left about the amount, the school did reflected students’ opinion, considering the fact that all students who paid actual tuition fees are eligible for the scholarship and that it was paid with a method of fixed rate payment.
Kim Yun-hee, a student majoring in Scranton Honors Program, shared her opinion about the Special Scholarship.
“I appreciate that the school considered student demands with the scholarship, since the amount of money was relatively large compared to other universities,” Kim said. “However, I felt that the school’s response was a bit late, not to mention the communication problem throughout last semester.”
She also added that even though the amount of money from the scholarship is satisfactory, she thinks that the unresolved communication issue between students and the school should be solved.
Universities that have conducted tuition fee refund include Konkuk University, Soongsil University, and Kyung Hee University, while the majority of universities didn’t return the tuition at all.
Meanwhile, Konkuk University, the first publicized university to return tuition fee, reportedly provided approximately 250,000 won to each student.