This spring without exception, tuition hikes swept through most universities in Korea. Most universities announced their increases. Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU) was no exception and announced increases of 7 percent, but later this increase was readjusted downward to 5.9 percent.
In some cases, there are universities that require tuition fees over ten million won per year. ‘THE TUITION BOMB’ as it may well be called. Amid tuition hikes, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development sent an official document asking universities to minimize tuition increases in the last month. In light of this, most universities maintain that the tuition increases are essential. This creates many complications between the government, universities, and students. And yet, these arguments for tuition hikes continue each year without a resolution. As far as tuition hikes go, many people have questioned whether they are indeed reasonable. In fact, many universities depend on tuition fees to cover their increasing operating expenses, and for this reason, they increase their tuition fees. Similarly, creative financial construction is the name of the game.
There needs to be various approaches to generate revenue for universities, not just through tuition increases. One example could be a long range policy by the government to increase financial investment in university education. Private investments by individuals, large organizations and corporations to universities are other methods. Yet another alternative could be for the government to subsidize students’ tuitions prior to students beginning their academic studies. The government could pay the tuition for students and the student could pay the government after they have finished school and start working. One last option would be to have students pay for their courses as credits, not at full semester rates or terms. These alternatives require constant communication between students, universities and government. Universities need to offer an environment for students to feel confident while completing their studies. All the alternatives suggested above should be considered investments for the future. If there is no resolution to the quarrels between universities, students and the government, the future of a country could be weakened. Working together is the only way to strengthen ’s economy, social structure and global competitiveness as a cohesive and united country.