Q&A about the korean student aid
Q&A about the korean student aid
  • Observer
  • 승인 2014.03.10 14:08
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All university students are able to derive the benefit of tuition assistance from the government. The government is serious about its commitment to reduce the financial burden on the family budget due to high tuition fee. Students who need help because of unstable family finances are able to receive a scholarship. This contributes to the promotion of student equality at universities. However, many students are not aware of how the selection process operates and cases decided. How much do you know about the Korea Student Aid?

University tuition per year
The average tuition fee of national universities in Korea is about 4,100,000 won per year and that of private universities is about 7,300,000 won per year. In addition, students who will enroll in prestigious universities would have to pay more than 8,000,000 won per year. This fee does not yet include miscellaneous expenses; otherwise, a student faces to pay a total of more than 10,000,000 won per year.Scholarship systems differed among universities that also have different standards in awarding those scholarships. This made it difficult for students to apply for them. The Korea Student Aid attempts to solve this predicament by providing a wider range of opportunities through the combination of existing varied scholarship systems of different universities. It gives the students a greater chance of getting a scholarship to ultimately free some of the financial burdens of the families who have university students covered by this system. Students can finally concentrate on their studies rather than worry about university tuition fee.

Operation of the Korea Student Aid
The Korea Student Aid is divided into 3 types: Case I, Case II and Supporting Multi-child Family.
In Case I, the government directly provides the scholarship to students who apply for the National Scholarship. This case categorizes students by income level using a scale of 1 to 10. The number of beneficiaries of the Korea student aid increases annually. In 2012, this range was up to the 6th scale but, in 2013, the range went up to the 8th scale.
In Case II, the government hands the scholarship to each university and the universities in turn choose their beneficiaries based on their own set of standards. However, the supporting money that each university receives differs widely depending on its efforts to increase scholarship opportunities or to decrease its tuition fee. As some universities keep the standardswhile others do not, the aid available to each student is differentdepending on their university.In addition, the governmentcreated the Supporting Multi-child Family Case in 2014 to support families who have many children. In this case, the3rd child (or younger) in a family can get 4,500,000 wonper year.

Requirements for scholarships

Requirements for Case I
To qualify for the Korea Student Aid, two requirements must be satisfied. The first requirement is the parents’ income. Income level is divided into 10 scales reflecting components that are also used for calculating the health insurance premium of National Health Insurance Corporation. The second requirement is the university grade. Freshmen are exempted from this rule. However, students who enrolled more than one semester should take more than 12 units and the converted result (grade) should be over 80 points per 100 points.

Requirements for Case II
In Case II, each university that gets budget support has the autonomy to choose and set the range for beneficiaries who meet their requirements. Most universities fortunately have similar requirements. The first requirement is income level (chosen by the government) and the second is school’s grades. However, the range of beneficiaries is different for each university because of the different standards as well as the different budget received from the government.As an example, YU provided scholarship to students who satisfied the minimum grade (2.5) and who were classified up to the 6th scale. At the end of the semester, YU received more support from the government and used it for students’ scholarship. Finally, about 8,000 people belonging to the 8th scale got the benefit of the National Scholarship.

Interview with YU Scholarship Department
Q) You applied Case II aid twice, at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Why?
A) We received 2.1 billion from the government at the beginning of the semester and divided the benefits accordingly tostudents belonging to the 6th scale and below(1-6) by income level. However, at the end of the semester, we received an additional 4.1 billion and so the aid for students up to the 8th scale became available. In short, there were students receiving only one or both. The reason for giving additional aid has something to do with the re-execution of the budget. In Case II aid, the government gives the students aid only if the university decreased tuition fee or increased scholarships. As universities who satisfied these standards were insufficient, specifically for the past year, the money used up properly by universities just amounted to 300 billion in the 700 billion-budget. The remaining 400 billion could not be used and so we received additional aid as we met the standards.
Q) Why is student aid different from each student?
A) They differ because we consider several factors. At YU, the aid is based on income level that the government decides. Also, as the total aid cannot exceed tuition given by outside scholarship or Case I aid, availability of aid can be different for each student.

Interview with Korea Student Aid Foundation
Q) How do you decide income level?
A) Income level is decided according to appraisal standard like parents’ income, car, house price, and land price etc. Minus the monetary income, the rest is calculated by wealth. The car is assessed by its engine displacement and model. The house price is applied after subtracting 180 million from the market price. The land price is computed differently depending on size and price. As there are several factors deciding income level other than actual income, students are often confused and mistake income level only as family’s actual income without considering the other factors calculated to identify actual income level. This is the source of most questions raised by students. If the process can be presented and explained to them in the simplest form, it will reduce confusion and misunderstanding.
Q) Are children of public officials not eligible to receive Korea Student Aid?
A) As similar occupations may have different levels, such misunderstandings may happen. But to receive aid, occupation of parents does not matter at all.

As mentioned several times, the Korea student aid is provided by the government to students to decrease the financial burden of high university tuition fee on the family. However, because of lack of awareness, misconceptions, and wandering rumors such as unfairness in the dispensation of the aid, many think that this government program is not running properly. By addressing such rumors, the public is made aware that Korea Student Aid is operating fairly and is given properly to qualified students. The National Aid, therefore, proves to be a great help to students and allows them to enjoy their life in the campus.

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