[LETTER TO THE EDITOR]Donations are good for allRegarding the article “Colleges ask to legalize donations for admission” (July 2): The necessity and benefits of the donations-for-admission policy should be recognized. The issue of whether some students should be able to gain entry to universities by contributing large sums of money has been in dispute since 1986. But this is the first time universities have explicitly expressed their support for a donations-for-admissions policy, collectively and formally.
Opponents have argued that a “money equals admission” equation would develop if such a policy is legalized. They also claim the gap between the haves and the have-nots would become wider. But at the core of their argument lie bias, distrust and the hope for excessive equality. It is disheartening to see them miss the merits of such a policy, which outweigh its demerits.
Currently, Korean universities face financial shortfalls that impede their competitiveness in the global arena. Private universities’ budgets are one-tenth of those of American universities, and one-fourth of Japanese universities’. With donated money, our universities will be able to fund numerous research projects and improve their facilities. Higher-quality universities will foster the competitiveness necessary to face universities abroad head-to-head.
Furthermore, it will fulfill Korean students’ needs, thereby keeping them within the country during the course of their studies. Fewer students going abroad for education would benefit the Korean economy, as it means less money spent abroad. Ultimately, the money donated by some students can be used for more scholarships, research, qualified professors, and better facilities, thereby benefiting the whole. An average of 70 percent of private universities’ annual budgets depends on tuition fees, and less than 5 percent on government funds. With such an inadequate budget, Korean universities cannot enhance their quality and increase competitiveness. Legalizing donation-for-admission will make our universities globally competitive, benefit the economy and do students enormous good.
by Hwang Hye-sook