Gov’t to spend $1.4B to help cut tuition fees

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Gov’t to spend $1.4B to help cut tuition fees

After promising to help families struggling to send their kids to college, the government announced a new plan to reduce tuition, an issue that is bound to dominate next year’s general and presidential elections.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced yesterday the government will coordinate investments of 2.25 trillion won ($2.1 billion) to expand scholarships in 2012.

The result, the ministry said, is that the average tuition for all students will be lowered by 5 percent. Students from families with incomes below the top 30 percentile will see their tuition cut by an average of 22 percent.

Education Minister Lee Ju-ho said yesterday at a briefing that the government will spend 1.5 trillion won on government scholarships and the remaining 750 billion won will come from universities across the country in the form of new scholarships or lowered tuition fees.

“Previously, we had a 300 billion won budget for government-run scholarships,” Lee said. “Now, we will increase the budget to 1.5 trillion won.”

In the past, government scholarships were largely reserved for students from the poorest families.

Under the proposed system, which will have to be incorporated in the national budget and passed by the National Assembly, half of the government’s new budget, or 750 billion won, will be spent on direct scholarships to students.

About 675,000 students from families with incomes below the 30th percentile will receive scholarships from 900,000 won to 4.5 million won, which is almost 100 percent of tuition, per semester.

Students from households in the 40 to 70th percentiles will get about 960,000 won per semester. Those from the upper 30th percentile will be offered an average of 380,000 won.

The other half of the government’s new budget will be distributed to universities in proportion to their number of underprivileged students enrolled and the colleges’ financial status.

However, if a university wants to receive the state funds, it will be required to freeze its current tuition and take measures to boost its own scholarship program.

“We are now considering proposing a bill to include this expanded scholarship budget in the country’s annual budget,” Lee Kyung-nam, an official at the ministry said in a telephone interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily yesterday.

The ministry added that 43 universities it listed as badly run schools on Monday won’t receive governments support for scholarships.

By Kim Hee-jin []

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

기초수급 학생 내년 등록금 315만 → 186만원

‘반값 등록금’ 논란 끝에 정부·여당이 내년에 1조5000억원을 투입해 소득 상위 30%를 제외한 대학생들의 등록금 부담을 평균 22% 낮춰 주기로 했다.

기초생활수급자 소득 하위 30% 저소득층에 대해서는 국가 장학금을 현행보다 9000억원 늘려 지원을 강화한다. 등록금이 765만원인 사립대에 다니는 기초수급자 학생은 올해 315만원을 냈지만 내년에는 186만원만 내면 될 전망이다. 등록금 지원예산을 받으려는 대학은 등록금을 동결해야 한다. 대학생들 사이에선 “생색만 냈다”는 반응이 나왔다.

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