The Education Ministry will cut its financial subsidies for 66 colleges and universities that scored poorly in its evaluation on their reform efforts, officials said Monday.
The college evaluation, initiated by the ministry in April 2014, aims to reduce the number of student openings at higher education institutes across the country, which is forecast to exceed the number of high school graduates by 160,000 by 2023.
“Korea has already entered a phase of rapid decline in students, with at the number of students decreasing by at least 10,000 each year. Overlooking this problem is no longer an option,” said Vice Education Minister Kim Jae-choon.
The criteria for the assessment included academic achievements of students, curriculum, specialization of its majors, student support, employment rate of graduates, and long-term development plans.
A total of 32 four-year colleges and universities along with 34 two-year colleges were included in the lower D and E groups, which will be prevented from participating in state-funded research, scholarship and student loan programs. But universities in group D+ ― which scored between 80 and 89 out of 100 ― that are already participating in state-funded program will be able to continue, although they will be banned from applying for additional programs.
The ministry’s original plan was to forcibly cut the number of openings for all but group A, and shut down the universities in the lowest group. But as the law that would have given them the legal grounds to pursue such action is still pending at the National Assembly, the ministry said it had no choice but to induce voluntary reform at each university.
Six four-year colleges and universities along with seven two-year colleges ended up in the lowest group, E, including Daegu University of Foreign Studies, Luther University, Seonam University, Hanzhong University, Gangwon Provincial College, Gwang Yang Health College, and Daegu Future College.
These institutes will be immediately cut from all state-funded programs and the ministry will advise them to seek changes, such as switching to lifelong education institutes.
The ministry urged students to check the ratings for the colleges they are applying to as freshman students in all of D and E groups will be restricted from state-funded scholarship or student loan programs.
Officials said a panel of experts would offer consultations for those in group D, and colleges that actively complied with the ministry’s advice and showed signs of improvement would be exempt from the restrictions as of 2017.
By Yoon Min-sik