Ewha to charge for graduation postponement
By Lee Kyung-min
Ewha Womans University students are up in arms over a new rule to charge seniors who "intentionally" postpone their graduation with extra tuition fees.
According to the university Monday, starting in the spring semester this year, seniors who wish to postpone their graduation should register at least one class and pay one-sixth of the total tuition, roughly 600,000 won ($540) per semester, although the exact amount could vary depending on the course taken.
So far, such extensions required no financial burden on the students' part, with most of them deliberately failing to meet mandatory graduation requirement such as not attending chapel or not submitting a graduation paper, leading to an automatic extension.
The students affected have vehemently opposed the decision.
"The university handed out the notice in such an abrupt manner, leaving the students so unprepared. Such a rule taking effect as soon as this semester should have been more carefully decided," a student said.
"It is not my university, but many seniors who postpone graduation are without employment, and such decisions will further aggravate the precarious financial situation they are already in," a graduate from a university located in Seoul who only wished to be identified by his surname Kim said.
Students' disappointment with the decision is further compounded by the hardship they currently face in the job market amid harsh economic conditions.
Major conglomerates and recruiters are known to favor seniors and shun graduates as possible employees. Further, only seniors, not graduates, are allowed to apply for "idea competitions" held by such companies. The competition is a known factor in increasing a job applicant's resume profile.
Considering the situation, students are criticizing the university for reaching a decision that lacks consideration for the "yet-to-be employed."
"Such a decision would forcibly push the graduates onto the fierce job market absolutely unprepared. To me, the new rule doesn't seem to be in any way caring about the students at all," the aforementioned student surnamed Kim added.
Following Ewha's decision, other Seoul-based universities announced plans of a similar nature.
Konkuk University plans to adopt the same rule, mandating seniors who wish to extend graduation to take at least one course and pay the necessary tuition, effective in the coming spring semester.
Sogang University has excluded submission of English scores from certified institutions such as TOEIC and TOEFL from graduation requirements. Many Sogang seniors chose not to submit these scores to have their graduation automatically extended.