University admission fee is one of the biggest issues among university students. Of course, there is a foundation called “Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF)” which offers all students in Korea need-based aid to provide them with a higher education regardless of their economic backgrounds. However, its vague criteria of estimating the level of income has been criticized a great deal.
To help fix the problem, universities award some scholarships as well, but it is only limited to students with good grades. Unfortunately, if students do not have enough ability to pay for the admission fee, they have to work a part-time job during the semester no matter whether they want to or not. While spending more time to earn the admission fee than they study, they often fail to receive scholarships since they could not get higher grades. And this is a vicious circle of poverty.
Korea University has abolished the existing scholarship based on the grade to break out of the vicious circle. Instead, it introduced a “righteousness scholarship” for the first time in Korea. Korea University’s “righteousness scholarship” was designed to help students in poor financial conditions. Technically, it is a need-based scholarship program.
At the beginning, some criticized that students who are in median income level with good grades could be victims of this new scholarship system. Nevertheless, after a year, this has been evaluated as a scholarship that really helps students. Students do a better job when they receive money from school. The president of Korea University once said in a newspaper interview, “I think leaving school to earn admission fee is such an ironic phenomenon. School has to support students with financial problems so that they can experience other valuable challenges and have enough time to improve their own lives.”
The current scholarship system, which is only for those with successful academic results, tends to be denounced by encouraging needless competition among students and ultimately aggravating the polarization of wealth. In other words, this is a system that truly cares for and helps students.
University is where students must be given equal educational opportunities. Students have to feel free to what they want to learn without any obstacles. In this respect, the definition and the intent of the scholarship need to be reconsidered in order to achieve the true meaning of university education.
Lee Min-jeong email@example.com
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