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Kyunghee University Mulls Tuition Hike

Posted April. 14, 2006 03:16,   


With many universities having disputes with their students over tuition hikes, Kyung Hee University has decided to discuss another tuition increase. The decision is expected to affect other universities.

The university said yesterday, “We decided to discuss again the tuition hike rate by holding a meeting of the ‘tuition setting committee,’ which consists of four representatives from the school authorities and four student representatives,” adding, “If possible, we’ll adjust the rate with the student representatives this month.”

Having met five times since December last year, the tuition committee set the tuition increase rate for 2006 at 6.8 percent on January 27 this year and announced it to the students.

However, two representatives of colleges out of the four student representatives did not attend the meeting since the third meeting in opposition to tuition hike. Worse yet, the expanded management committee of the student union, which includes representatives of each major, concluded that it would not accept the increase rate set by the tuition committee.

Under these circumstances, the student union held a student vote for a re-discussion of tuition from March 27 to 29. Among 56 percent of the students who participated in the vote, 93 percent supported a re-discussion.

In acceptance of students’ request, the university summoned the tuition committee again on April 11.

A Kyung Hee University official said, “Some school officials opposed discussing again the already fixed tuition increase rate. But we decided to hold the committee again to democratically collect students’ opinion.”

The 12,695 students of the university, who have already paid tuition, can get refunds for the difference if the tuition committee revises downward the increase rate.

Some say that the reversal of the committee’s decision is the result of a “power game” between activist students and non-activist students.

The student union president of the university has traditionally been an activist student but a non-activist student was elected the president this year. With six out of 15 colleges of the university led by activist students, the student union often has a clash of views with the colleges.

A student in the student union said, “The re-discussion of the tuition hike rate is not necessarily to revise the rate downward,” adding, “If a factor that can lead to downward revision is found in a review of the discussion process, it is right for the university to revise the rate downward.”

Jae-Myoung Lee egija@donga.com