The Korea Herald


More universities gear up for bigger tuition hikes

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : Feb. 19, 2024 - 15:33

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Students attend a graduation ceremony at Dongguk University. (Yonhap) Students attend a graduation ceremony at Dongguk University. (Yonhap)

Four-year universities in South Korea are gearing up to raise tuition fees, going away from the so-called "half-price" tuition policy that encouraged them to freeze the price since 2012.

Out of 137 universities that have set the amount of their tuition fees, 19 have decided to raise the expenditure. Keimyung University raised its tuition fee for the first time in 16 years, while Chosun University and Dong-Eui University raised them for the first time in 15 and 13 years, respectively.

The trend emerged after the limit for raising tuition for 2024 surged to 5.64 percent last December, leading universities to opt to increase tuition amid decreased revenue and enrollments. Korea's Higher Education Act stipulates that tuition increases cannot be greater than 1.5 times the average increase in consumer prices during the three preceding years, making this year's standard of over 5 percent the highest in 13 years.

Despite the change, the Education Ministry has urged universities to freeze tuition due to the financial burden on students. The Education Ministry has been encouraging universities to refrain from raising tuition by providing funding for National Scholarship Type 2 to universities that freeze their tuition since 2012.

Despite the incentive, some are seeking extra tuition revenue instead of government funds. Chosun University's 4.9 percent tuition hike this year is projected to raise some 6 billion won ($4.5 million), nearly three times the amount of National Scholarship Type 2 support from the government, which is about 2.2 billion won, according to reports.

"Monitoring some 190 universities in total, though the number of schools that raised tuitions increased, the percentage seems to stay the same," an official at the Education Ministry said.

Last year, 17 out of 193 schools raised tuition, accounting for 8.8 percent of the total.