The article below in the Chosun Ilbo is critical about the recent taxpayers subsidized tuition cut at Seoul University, but what I found most interesting is how much tuition in Korea’s universities really costs:
The University of Seoul has decided to halve tuition fees starting next year and has asked the Seoul Metropolitan Government to make up an expected W18.2 billion shortfall (US$1=W1,133). The city government shoulders W64.8 billion of the university’s 2012 budget of W120 billion, but that would rise to W83 billion. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon visited the university on Oct. 21, at the height of his election campaign, and signed an agreement with its student council over the plan.
As a result, around 8,000 students at the university will see their tuition, which averages W4.78 million a year, fall to W2.39 million. Yet fees were already half the average W8.27 million a year that other major private universities in the capital charge, and W1.5 million cheaper than at the state-run Seoul National University. Now they will be just a quarter of the fees private universities in the city charge.
Since many University of Seoul students receive a scholarship of W1.38 million, actual fees will fall to the W1 million level. That is even cheaper than in some high schools, which costs W1.8 million a year. The University of Seoul is popular among students and rated among the top 10 universities by private crammers. If such a school cuts its tuition so drastically, it will certainly attract gifted students and improve the quality of the student body.
But it also creates a problem of fairness. Among the students at the University of Seoul, 60 percent come from outside the capital. Some Seoul residents may already be less than happy to hear that around W60 billion of their tax money is being spent every year to support students from elsewhere so that they can pay only half what other colleges charge. How many Seoul citizens would support having to spend another W18 billion in taxes to halve the fees yet again? [Chosun Ilbo]
With all the complaints about high tuition costs in Korea’s universities, they are getting a bargain compared to the universities in the US. On the other hand though you do get what you pay for.