Student Association Fee Issue Revisited
Student Association Fee Issue Revisited
  • Park Seo-kyung
  • 승인 2012.09.26 19:21
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The student association fee has been an issue among students for a long time. In the nineties, it prompted demonstrations in campus against trials to ban on collecting extramandatory fees. It is still an issue that a large fee has been collected under the guise of voluntary support for the Student Association. Therefore, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) changed the policy from recommending to commanding that extra fees, including medical insurance and the student association  fee, not be embeddedin tuition. Universities that violate this policy will face sanctions of reduced national support.
Before the new policy, the Student Asso-ciation Fee in POSTECH has been collected as part of “tuition and fees.” Unless students paid the student association fee, they were not able to register for classes. However, according to the new policy, the student association fee has to be collected directly from students, not lumped together with tuition. This will lead to a decrease in collection. Universities like Seoul National University and Sungkyunkwan University have collected the student association fee directly, and collection rates are about 30~80 %. Currently, student union fee of POSTECH is 26,000 KRW per student. The Student Association has managed with a budget of about 70 million KRW per year. Considering the cases of other universities, POSTECH could reasonably expect to receive 50 %, about 35 million KRW. Last semester, the Sunrise festival alone cost roughly 36 million KRW. This worries student union managers.
However, considering the meaning of Student Association, which is not a duty but a selective and spontaneous union, collecting the student association fee by force isn’t consistent with that meaning. In addition, collection rate may not be reduced so drastically. The collection rate of each department’s association fee is over 95 %, even though those fees are up to 200 thousand KRW per student and are collected directly. Furthermore, if students directly pay the student association fee, which had been collected as part of their tuition, events organized by the Student  Association may draw more participants because students would feel they were wasting their money if they did not join events they directly paid for. This  freedom to voluntarily decide may actually be one way to increase students’ school spirit.