66 universities get bottom-of-the-curve gradesThe Ministry of Education Monday announced that 66 schools - 32 four-year and 34 junior colleges - will not be eligible for government funding, following its evaluation of universities to weed out inferior schools and reduce the overall number of places for students.
Since the end of last year, the ministry conducted an evaluation of 298 higher education institutions - 163 regular four-year universities and 135 specialty and junior colleges - and categorized them into five rankings.
Students enrolling in schools in the lower two tiers will not be eligible for government scholarships or certain student loans.
“Through this proposal to reduce student enrollment quotas, total enrollment will be lowered by over 5,000 students,” said Vice Education Minister Gim Chae-chun in a press briefing. “And in the assessment process, should each school follow through with the plan, the student enrollment quota will be reduced by 47,000 by 2017.”
In January 2014, the Education Ministry announced a plan to drastically reduce enrollment quotas in higher education to cut the total enrollment quota by 160,000 by 2023.
The government anticipates a steep reduction in the number of Korean high school graduates, financial trouble for colleges as they are encouraged to cut tuition and a thinning job market for graduates.
If the government does not gradually reduce the number of places for students, universities could run into serious management problems and may have to shut down en masse in the near future.
Universities nationwide were categorized into five grades, evaluated in areas including educational conditions, university management, student support and performance.
The A-grade schools are allowed to voluntarily cut their sizes.
The ministry requires any universities ranked below grade A to cut their enrollment quota. It advised student enrollments be cut between 4 to 15 percent by 2017 at schools ranked grades B to E.
But 32 four-year universities and 34 junior colleges received weak scores and were categorized into grade D or E.
The six four-year universities that received the E grade, or less than 70 points, will be required to reduce their enrollment quota by 15 percent. The seven specialty and junior colleges that received an E grade will be required to reduce their enrollment quota by 10 percent.
Four-year colleges that received a D+ include Kangwon National University, Korea University Sejong Campus and Konkuk University Global Campus. Their students can still receive student loans.
Schools that received a D grade include Kangnam University and Gyeongju University, and students can receive loans for 50 percent of general school expenses. However, all student loans will be limited for students enrolled in E-grade schools include Daegu University of Foreign Studies, Luther University and Seoul Christian University.
Schools ranked D or E will also not be eligible for government support for any new projects next year. Schools ranked E will receive cuts in any support for already existing projects, while D schools will continue to receive funding for preexisting projects.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]