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2 years ago

Demand for tuition refunds intensifies among S. Korean college students

Arirang News
Arirang News
"코로나19로 학습권 침해"...대학가서 번지는 등록금 반환 요구

Should colleges be giving students a partial refund on tuition since their campuses were forced to shift teaching online for the COVID-19 pandemic?
Some students think so, and lately their calls for refunds have been getting louder.
Kim Dami reports.
Four months into adopting virtual lectures because of the COVID-19 pandemic,... one local university has decided to cut tuition fees for the fall semester.
"Students at Konkuk University have been requesting a refund since April, arguing that remote learning doesn't have same value as in-person education. The school will now reduce its tuition fees for the second semester."
Students are frustrated that they didn't get their money's worth because of campus shutdowns.
"The quality of education has dropped because classes are online. And there are so many on-campus facilities that we didn't get to use."
"I'm a freshman and I haven't been able to enjoy any of the college experience."
Students do welcome and appreciate the tuition cut but don't believe it's enough to solve the problems caused by the pandemic.
"The tuition cut in the second semester won't apply to students that don't take classes during that time. I think we should get a refund for the first semester."
But many other local universities are not willing to offer such refunds.
College students in the United States have even filed class-action lawsuits against their universities demanding repayment for tuition, lodging and other costs.
And the U.S. Education Department has provided financial relief for students who have taken federal loans.
Students in South Korea are also seeking such government aid.
"We urge the National Assembly to include support in the third extra budget for students that are left in this blind spot."
But South Korea's Finance Ministry insists that it's not appropriate to use the budget for tuition refunds.
The Education Ministry has also made it clear that it won't get involved in the issue.
In fact, under the current law, the Education Ministry cannot interfere in college tuition fees.
While recognizing the students' struggles during the crisis, the ministry has highlighted the current conflict has to be resolved through communication between schools and students.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.

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