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Univ. Students Delay Graduating Due to Crisis

Posted February. 04, 2009 08:54,   


More domestic university students are postponing graduation due to the economic crisis despite having all of the required credits, the results of a survey released yesterday said.

When the Asian currency crisis hit the job market a decade ago, many students temporarily left college to study foreign languages or get certifications abroad instead of graduating. At that time, it was not hard to find fifth-year seniors.

In the most recent financial crisis, students spending a sixth year at university have appeared.

According to a survey of the nation’s 30 major universities conducted by the economic desk of The Dong-A Ilbo, 10 of them have allowed students to postpone graduation by attending extra classes.

The number of students who applied for extra credits to postpone graduation at six universities this year was 1,513, up 73 percent from 874 last year. That of students who postponed graduation accounted for 5.79 percent of graduates last year but has almost doubled to 10.23 percent this year.

At Konkuk University in Seoul, the number of students who applied for delayed graduation late last year or early this year jumped 89.3 percent from 144 to 277 in a year. The figure surpassed 800 at Yonsei University.

The situation at provincial universities is worse. At Pukyong University, 655 students applied for postponed graduation, up from 242. The figure at Ajou University soared 39.8 percent from 108 to 151.

Universities have allowed delays in graduation as more students are leaving school for a few years or are avoiding mandatory classes to postpone graduation. Under the system, those supposed to graduate can remain students if they pay one-sixth of tuition.

Many students who are delaying graduation are taking a one-credit course.

The share of students registered as seniors or aged 26 or over has also gradually increased. According to an annual report on educational statistics, the share of university seniors has risen from 21.5 percent in 2004 to 23.1 percent in April last year.

Also the share of students aged 26 or over has grown from 6.1 percent to 6.7 percent over the same period. In other words, one out of every 15 students have begun their professional careers far later than their peers.

leon@donga.com jameshuh@donga.com