A steep decline in overall finances and chronic problems in its financial structure resulted in the debt, which was settled by fund-raising from Ewha students and alumni.
Ewha is mostly funded by tuition fees, so when students pay their tuition each semester, they choose whether to pay for the publication expenses by checking the checkbox in the payment bill. Previously, the checkbox had been automatically checked, though students could uncheck it later, implicitly encouraging students to pay the fee. However, since the spring semester of 2014, the checkbox has no longer been automatically checked, which led to a drastic decrease in financial contributions. This semester, the total funding reached 4.8 million won – down to nearly half of the previous semester’s 7.5 million won.
In order to cut down expenses, the editorial board reduced the number of distributed magazines from 6,500 to 5,000 copies, and continued to include advertisements, an alternative source of financing. However, advertisement revenue also decreased from 5.4 to 3.1 million won this semester due to continuing effects of economic downturn, leaving the editorial board with a debt of 1.4 million won.
The OSA usually notifies the editorial board of its total finance one month after the beginning of the semester.
“This is because the total amount is subject to changes, as students may leave in the middle of the semester or pay tuition after the semester begins,” said Kim Byeo-ri, an official from the OSA. “As the total amount of funding has been decreasing recently, we had suggested the editorial board to first plan for its projects with a budget of 70 to 80 percent of the previous one.”
As a result, the editorial board had no choice but to start working on their publication without specified information on their finance.
“It has been very dangerous and inconvenient to ‘estimate’ the exact amount we can use, because it becomes a huge problem if we face unexpected financial problems over time,” said Jeong Hye-ryeong, the editor-in-chief of Ewha.
To overcome the debt, the editorial board raised funds from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 through its official Facebook page, Ewha’s online community Ewhaian and the bulletin board on Eureka. With the support from Ewha students and alumni, it raised a total of 1.56 million won, successfully making up for the deficit.
The editorial board promised that it would adjust the number of distributed magazines and solve the problem in its financial structure through constant correspondence with the OSA.
“We completely understand that the OSA has no choice but to give late notifications on our finance,” Jeong said. “However, we hope that the OSA can at least inform us of the estimated amount in advance. This problem should definitely be solved through negotiations between us and the OSA to prevent similar problems.”
The OSA has also shown its willingness to help solve the problems that the editorial board is struggling with.
“As the total amount is continuously decreasing, the editorial board will need to put more efforts in advertising the school magazine,” Kim said. “The OSA is willing to support Ewha when the editorial board is in need of help.”
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