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`Boy`s SAT Prep Fees Reached W4.2 Mln Per Month`

Posted April. 29, 2009 03:07,   


A parent spent 4.2 million won (3,095 U.S. dollars) a month for private tutoring of her son, a junior at a foreign language high school in Seoul.

The boy was preparing to study in the United States. After failing to join an afterschool class preparing students for the U.S. Scholastic Aptitude Test, he received private lectures at a studio apartment in Seoul’s posh southern district of Gangnam.

As the number of high school students who want to study in the United States increases, private institutes providing SAT prep are mushrooming. The tuition for such lectures can average as high as two million won (1,474 dollars) per month, twice the price for ordinary lectures.

The parent spent every month on her son’s education five million won (3,685 dollars), including 700,000 won (515 dollars) for school tuition.

Her son went directly to the apartment after school at 6 p.m. Lectures were given to seven to eight students each in three rooms until 11 p.m. They learned American history, math and science using American textbooks.

Tutors, mostly graduates of prestigious universities in Korea, lectured there to either earn money to study in the United States themselves or living expenses. Some of them are said to have made more than 10 million won (7,370 dollars) a month.

Police booked March 3 the owner of the apartment and five tutors for giving illegally priced private tutoring without detention.

The apartment owner “Maeng” is known to have graduated from a U.S. state university and formerly taught afterschool classes at a foreign language school. As he gained fame as a “pinpoint” lecturer, students from foreign language and international high schools thronged his apartment to get lectures.

Maeng charged monthly tuition of 1.5 million (1,105 dollars) to 4.2 million won (3,095 dollars) per student. Over 14 months beginning June 2007, he earned 500 million won (368,514 dollars), meaning he raked in 200,000 won (147 dollars) an hour.

If cash sales are combined, his earnings are estimated at more than one billion won (737,028 dollars). He set tuition rates through interviews with parents, so fees varied depending on the student.