Rural college applicants filed false residency infoAfter investigating 479 students who were admitted to colleges nationwide through the special admissions process for students from farming and fishing villages, the Board of Audit said only 20 legitimately qualify as residents of those areas.
Students who do not meet the requirements for special admissions could have their admissions revoked in the fall.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Wednesday it submitted the results of the board’s investigation to 55 colleges last Monday.
Each university will individually summon the students this month to hear their explanation, said the Education Ministry.
Schools will review the validity of its students’ admission and notify them of their standing or if their admission will be retracted before the beginning of second semester.
Universities under review include top Seoul schools, such as Seoul National, Korea and Sungkyunkwan universities.
In January, the Education Ministry asked the Board of Audit and Ministry of Public Administration and Security to investigate students admitted to universities from 2009-11.
The ministry suspected there was a discrepancy between where the students were going to high school and their parents’ place of employment, according to inspections conducted last summer.
For students from villages who are given special admission, both students and parents need to live in that area.
But the investigation showed that while students graduated from schools in the countryside, their parents worked in Seoul or other cities.
Universities admit students from villages through a special method, introduced by the Education Ministry in 1995, despite their grades not being up to par with students from the city, in order to increase the number of students from rural areas.
The Board of Audit said some parents who lived in cities gave their address as a storage room, a small vegetable field and even an airplane runway located in a rural village.
But the Public Administration Ministry stated that it was hard to find evidence to prove that the addresses were false.
They had particular difficultly determining whether or not the parent and child lived in the rural village for three years, which is the time period required for special admission.
The ministry said there were many situations where it was “unable to confirm” fraudulent addresses, so it turned over the decision to each individual university.
A Seoul private university administrator responded, “If the government-provided documents state they are ‘unable to confirm residency’ and are ambiguous, then what measures are we supposed to take?”
The Korean Council for University Education said Wednesday it will impose stricter evaluations to prevent illicit special admissions beginning with current high school juniors, who will enter college in 2014.
By Sarah Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]