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Universities Not Disclosing Their Use of Development Funds

Universities Not Disclosing Their Use of Development Funds

Posted January. 03, 2009 06:17,   


More universities have announced a freeze on tuition hikes, so they say raising more development funds is a struggle. Not all of them, however, have disclosed details of how they use such funds.

According to a survey of around 60 national and private universities conducted by The Dong-A Ilbo and the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, none of the schools polled have disclosed how they use the funds.

Seoul National University runs Seoul National Foundation, which operates several donation programs.

The foundation’s Web site introduces the university’s fundraising programs, including “Fundraising Projects by Theme,” “Fundraising Projects by College,” “Fundraising Projects by Amount,” and “Recommended Fundraising Projects by Contributor.”

The foundation also describes the university’s major projects requiring financial resources and how much money it needs, but nothing on how the money is used.

A foundation official said, “We have never released an explanation on spending, only the combined amount of contributions and spending.”

Yonsei University is no different. It only suggests the list of beneficiaries financially supported by scholarship programs.

Sungkyunkwan University’s development fund has a Web site on where the development funds go to. The school, however, only explains the projects to which funding is needed and nothing on how the money is used.

Park Se-gi, manager at the system improvement planning department of the anti-corruption commission, has conducted a survey on the waste of university development funds. “Most universities have released no details on their use of development funds.”

The development funds play a key role in a university’s fiscal resources. Those of national universities amounted to 532.3 billion won (400.8 million U.S. dollars) in 2007, or 26.7 percent of general accounts and 34 percent of special accounts.

A donor who pledged 30.5 billion won (23 million dollars) to Pusan National University has filed a lawsuit against the school for allegedly spending the money for unspecified purposes.

Regulations on the establishment, operation and accounting of university development funds and a law on fundraising and use of money say public schools and social organizations should release how they use development funds and the amount of donations.

No regulations, however, govern disclosure of university development funds and their use.

An official at the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea said, “All organizations should disclose information to improve the transparency of their funds. If the data is released, it will help universities raise more funds.”