On January 25, General Student Association(GSA) of Hanyang University(HYU) engaged in a sit-in demonstration in front of the lion statue to protest HYU’s decision and secure a scholarship budget.
After seven meetings with the Tuition Board, HYU decided to freeze tuition fees. “What appears to be a tuition freeze, is actually the impetus for a tuition hike. The Korea Student Aid Foundation’s National Grant Type II funds will decrease by at least seven hundred million won and the university budget for freshman orientations and other school events will be cut by four hundred million won,” said Oh Kyu-min, a President of GSA. The National Grant Type II fund is given to universities by the government depending on their efforts to suppress tuition increases. If the university freezes or increases tuition, government funding will be cut accordingly. This would explain the decrease in KOSAF’s National Grant Type II funds for HYU.
Recently HYU's annual savings increased from 9.5 billion to 11.4 billion won. HYU saw a boost of 1.2 billion won in tuition revenue and generated 1.8 billion won leasing campus grounds to enterprises. Considering the figures, freezing the tuition seems to be feasible.
The reason why the student side is behind the eight-ball is because of the composition of the Tuition Inquiry Committee. The Tuition Inquiry Commission discusses and examines tuition fees which decide HYU’s budget. The Committee is made up of five members from the university, five members from the student body and an outsider.
“As the outside party is appointed by the HYU President, the university has the upper hand. These circumstances make it difficult for the GSA to have a say in matters regarding tuition. Even though efforts were made to voice students’ opinions, we had to resort to protesting as they were not taken into consideration. We are going to proceed with online campaigns, newsletters and will continue to do so to inform the public of this matter,” said Oh.