▲ KUSA President Lee Seungjun giving a speech. Photographed by Choi Hyunbin
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) and five university student associations held a joint press conference for lower tuition and entrance fees on March 2, 2017. Student representatives from Korea University (KU), Korea University Graduate School, Ewha Womens University, Hanyang University, and Hongik University were present.
Entrance fee is a sum of money paid to the school upon enrollment, and is separate from tuition fee and often number around one million won. In 2016, KU students paid the highest entrance fee among private universities with 1,031,000 won. While the figure fell in 2017, it decreased by a meager 3.69 percent or 38,000 won. With an entrance fee of 993,000 won in 2017, KU placed third for highest entrance fees among other private universities.
During the conference, participants claimed entrance fees are “unjust” and that they “must be abolished.” They called upon the Ministry of Education and the National Assembly to take action against excessive entrance fees, citing proposed-but-halted bills in the National Assembly designed to alleviate the situation.
Furthermore, the conference raised questions on the legitimacy of entrance fees, claiming 24 of 28 contacted universities could not provide details as to the allocation of entrance fee funds. The necessity of entrance fees were also scrutinized, citing Hanbat National University's budget report in which 96 percent of entrance fees had disappeared.
PSPD is a South Korean non-governmental organization formed in 1994 for "a democracy where participation and rights are guaranteed." In 2004, PSPD obtained special consultative status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) among others for its role as a civil rights group.