As online virtual lectures have been decided and conducted for a semester due to COVID-19, which began in China in January 2020, many university students are demanding tuition refunds. Yeungnam University is no exception, and student demands for the return of tuition fees continue to be strong. Therefore, the school paid 100,000 won in the form of a consolation fee, not a return of tuition fees. The university said, ‘It is difficult to return tuition because of the decline in various incomes caused by COVID-19, as well as increased spending due to online lectures, and the school nevertheless made efforts to pay compensation.’
Despite the school’s announcement, however, students still insist on returning tuition fees and urge the student council to work. In the university community ‘Everytime,’ many students complain about not returning tuition and say the student council should step up and demand the return of tuition. They also argue that compensation for not enjoying the right to study should be made separately from the consolation money.
One of the music department students said that the proportion of practical classes during his course of study is significant and that he could not use many facilities, such as practice rooms, due to COVID-19. He then said that the school should compensate for the failure to provide the right to study through the return of tuition fees. Another student pointed out that during online classes, they could not hear the professor’s voice well and that the textbooks and materials used in classes were much lower in quality than face-to-face classes. They also said that tests and homework also lacked equity as they were conducted online.
Regarding the return of tuition fees, the student council said, ‘It is unfair not to return tuition fees because the quality of education is significantly lower this year compared to last year, and additionally, the school facilities are not available.’ In a statement on June 2, the student council chairman Park Jong-joo said that students are not able to take face-to-face lectures and use school facilities because they are conducting online classes. He also said that considering the cyber university tuition is ₩1.44 million, YU should return about 50 percent of the tuition fee. He added, ‘We sent official letters to the Ministry of Education twice, but only received formal answers asking for understanding because there are administrative and financial limitations, and the school and the Ministry of Education are passing the buck to each other, so we are campaigning for the return of tuition fees.’
In addition to the above campaign for the return of tuition fees, the student council is also conducting a national march to the Ministry of Education to ensure students’ rights and receive a refund.