A Donggukian is searching for the school scholarship in the Center for Scholarship hompage.
/Photograph by Hwang Hae-su
Every Donggukians would like to recieve the school academic scholarship. However, most of the students do not know the school scholarship system in detail. Even though some students know about it, in fact, they are not fully aware of the standard of the scholarships. As it is directly related to the students, who are the recipients of the scholarship, their interests in the school scholarship system should increase. The Dongguk post arranged the school academic scholarship system specifically and interveiwed some Donggukians to hear their thoughts about it.
English skills are considered for the scholarship
One of the school scholarships is an Academic Scholarship System. This includes “academic scholarship” and “scholarships for the top students of the class, department, and college.” The “academic scholarship” (equivalent to 30 percent of the tuition fees) is awarded to the students who earn more than 15 credits and GPA of 3.5 or higher in the last semester. This scholarship follows the standards of the Student Capability Improvement Scholarship (SCIS), which has been managed depending on each department since 2014 and also “exemplary scholarship”(equivalent to 30 percent of the tuition fees) follows the SCIS. The “scholarship for the top of the class” (100 thousand won) is given to top students of each class in each semester. Moreover, each top student of the department and the college receives “scholarships for the top of the department (equivalent to 70 percent of tuition fees) and the college (100 percent of tuition fees, respectively).” They have to complete at least 15 credits and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the previous semester.
The selection standards of the SCIS, which includes the “academic scholarship” and “exemplary scholarship,” are grades, participation in departmental events, volunteer activities, foreign language skills (scores of English test such as TOEIC, TOEFL, and TEPS), and whether English class is taken or not. The percentage of each standard varies from one department to another since professors of each department decided the ratio of the standards in 2014. Every department, except the Department of History and Physical Education, includes foreign language skills and taking English classes as the standards of the SCIS. Those two standards are usually from five to 30 percent. Ham Yeong-ran, the Vice-Director of the Office of Student Affairs, said, “These standards are set by each departmental professor including the dean. For example, professors of the Department of Business Administration chose the criteria which, they expect, would help the students improve their employment ability. English ability is one of the scholarship standards and the main purpose of this scholarship is to encourage students’ capability to improve.”
However, if a student get a good grade, but do not submit English grades or take an English class, he or she cannot receive the “academic scholarship” or “exemplary scholarship."
Jeong Yuri-Anna (Sophomore, Department of Korean Language and Literature) said, “I think English test score for graduation requirement is just enough to encourage students to study English. I cannot understand why English skill is one of the scholarship criteria.” Moreover, the Student Council of the College of Education did a survey asking students’ opinions about the scholarship standard, which is English ability, in early August. Yun Gwang-ho, the chairperson of the Student Council of the College of Education, wondered why English course credit can be the standard of “academic scholarship” saying, “In particular, since there is no English lecture at the College of Education, in order to take an English class, the students should find an English liberal lecture. There are some cases in which people who will receive the ‘academic scholarship’ are changed due to their English ability. I think it is a problem that the scholarship is determined by English test score, not a good GPA.”
Participation in certain events causes students to have dissatisfaction
Another standard is the “participation in departmental events,” which shows how many times students take part in their departmental events. Five departments, such as Division of Architectural Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and Industrial and Systems Engineering just give students extra points if they participate in the departmental events. On the other hand, some colleges selected the clause above for one of the SCIS criteria: the College of Buddhist Studies, the College of Humanities (except the Division of English Language & Literature), the College of Natural Science (except the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Chemistry), and the College of Education (except the Department of Geography Education and the Department of Physical Education). Therefore, students, who cannot or do not want to participate in the certain events, would miss the scholarship.
The chairperson Yun said that the “participation in departmental events” can be included in one of the scholarship criteria only if the standard meets characteristic of the scholarship. He also said, “I think it is important to discuss the scholarship criteria with the students. It is necessary to meet with the students’ necessity. The scholarship’s unilateral standards are not proper method.”
Scholarship limited for the class of fewer than 20 students
The “scholarship for the top of the class” is provided only when the number of students exceeds the certain number of students. For example, the liberal arts courses should have more than ten and the major subjects should have more than 20 students. The class registration of the English for Academic Success (EAS) class was originally limited to 19 students. However, Dharma College increased the total number of some of EAS classes to 20 since there are a lot of students who failed to enroll for the EAS class yet. In the second semester of 2017, out of 33 EAS1 courses, 17 courses have 20 students and out of 117 EAS2 courses, 58 courses have 20 students. Other EAS classes have fewer than 20 students. However, this does not imply that those with exceeding 19 students would have the benefit of receiving the “scholarship for the top of the class.” If the number of students is 20 including exchange students or those who have registered eight semesters or more, it will not be counted as a course that the top of the class can get the scholarship to be grant.
Lee Hyeon-seong, the team member of Dharma College said, “EAS class is an English conversation lecture in which the professor and the students communicate in English. The more students take EAS class, the more difficult it will be to achieve the goals of the lecture. Also, the other English conversation classes are limited to the similar number of students of the EAS, like 19 or 20.” Jeong Yuri-Anna said, “In this situation, the school needs to inform students that they cannot receive the ‘scholarship for the top of the class’ because of the lack in the number of students.” Park Ji-yun (Freshman, Department of Statistics) also agreed with her saying, “EAS is an essential class, so there are many EAS classes every semester. In this sense, too many students will receive the 'scholarship for the top of the class.' I carefully guess that the school intentionally limited the enrollment to small number.”
Solutions to the current problems
The topic discussed the most regarding the problems suggested is the equity of the merit based scholarships. According to the Center for Scholarship, which is belong to Office of Student Affairs, SCIS grants scholarships to those who are capable of minimum of 15 credits, and a GPA of 3.5. For this scholarship, the top five percent of each major would be privileged. However, there were some issues raised about the criteria, which involve participation marks, foreign language examination score such as TOEFL, community service hours, and GPA. Due to these kinds of criteria, some students did not get benefits even though they are already in the five percent.
The Center for Scholarship is belong to the Office of Student Affairs.
/Photograph by Kim Ji-min
Scholarships should be given according to GPA
Regarding this matter, there are two solutions to the problems. The first issue, which is about those who did not get benefit even though their GPA was high enough to be in the top five percent, can refer to the scholarship system of Ewha Womans University’s scholarship system. According to the Center for Scholarship of Ewha Womans University, it divides the students into several distinct categories and then grants scholarships to those who meet the requirements of the category only by GPA. Therefore, in this case, it can be considered fair for everyone since it is only judged by the efforts students have put into.
Regarding this matter, Park Yoo-jin (Freshman, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering) of Ewha Womans University said, “Those who did not get the scholarship even though their GPA was good enough to be given scholarship might have felt unfair, since they could feel like they did not deserve what they should have been given. I think our school’s system is quite clear and fair, since it rewards our efforts.”
Language Excellence Scholarship is another way
The second matter, which is foreign language examination score, can consult the case of Sejong University. In case of Sejong University, the Center for Scholarship awards those who have achieved a certain standard of each foreign language examinations, with the name of Language Excellence Scholarship. For example, those who got the score from 900 to 950 for TOEIC, will be given a one million won scholarship. For those who got a higher score than 950, students of Sejong University will be given a 1.5 million won scholarship. To have equity, the Center for Scholarship of Sejong University set a different standard for those who are majoring in foreign languages. The Language Excellence Scholarship will be limited to once throughout the whole school year. Regarding this system, Kang So-hwa (Freshman, Department of International Trade) said that since foreign language examination scores are one of the components that is mandatory for graduation, it will give more motivation to students to achieve the score.
Students need to raise interest in the scholarship system
Park Do-yoon said that before the interview, I did not know the specific standard of the scholarship since different standards apply to different majors. Like her, some students actually do not know about the standard at all and they just commonly think that they will not be able to get scholarships. This ignorance simply made them have less interest in the school scholarship system and feel that the school is not offering enough scholarships. If students want more gains, first of all, students have to raise their interest in scholarships, and question if they have any doubts about the system. In this way, it will be a mutually beneficial situation for both the school authorities and students.
The website of the Center for Scholarship of Dongguk University has the quote saying, “We support Donggukians who challenge themselves.” However, with the situation of several problems being brought up, the Center for Scholarship should reflect the students’ needs actively and reconsider how they will assist Donggukians. Although some of the examples of other schools’ might be helpful, students still need to express their interest in scholarships strenuously so that their opinions can be heard.
Hwang Hae-su, Kim Ji-min firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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