Provincial universities rely heavily on foreign students

Private universities in the provinces of South Korea are becoming increasingly dependent on foreign students as the population shrinks and young Koreans stare fixedly at the capital, reports The Chosunilbo.

Some provincial universities have a foreign enrolment of 99%, and the situation is likely to get worse now the Education Ministry wants to boost the enrolment quota of universities by 1,829 in 2024. The ministry says the increase is necessary to recruit more students to high-tech disciplines, but critics say it should focus more on closing down money-losing degree mills outside Seoul that have no appeal for Koreans at all.

One official in charge of student exchange programmes at a private provincial university said: “Intensifying competition between universities recently led to some schools offering brokers as much as a semester's tuition fees per student to recruit new foreign students.” According to the Justice Ministry, Vietnamese account for 73,800 of the 214,000 foreign students studying in Korean universities as of March, followed by 67,451 Chinese, 12,251 Uzbeks citizens and 12,226 Mongolians.
Full report on The Chosunilbo site