This page has information and articles on Korea and on educational trends in Korea for U.S. schools and educational institutions.

College Rankings: a Guide to Nowhere (from the Chronicle of Higher Education)

At EducationUSA, we talk a lot about the importance of “fit” when choosing a college or university.  Students must think not only about big name schools, reputation, or rankings, but more about what makes a them right for the school and what makes the school right for them. It is understandable why a student and parents are so enamored with famous schools, but with an open mind and a little more research, sometimes they can find an even better educational experience.  See this article on rankings from the Chronicle of Higher Education on some issues related to rankings of institutions of higher education.


January 28, 2013

College Rankings: a Guide to Nowhere

Jon Krause for The Chronicle

By Debra Houry

This month high-school seniors have been frantically submitting their college applications for the January deadlines. Students aspire for acceptance into a reputable college, yet how do they determine which one is the best for them? Many of them turn for guidance to U.S. News & World Report and other resources that rank institutions.

Unfortunately, those “one size fits all” rankings, which are influential to both students and institutions, are often poorly designed and untrustworthy.

In November, George Washington University disclosed that it had been inflating class-rank data for the past decade, which resulted in its own inflated ranking in U.S. News. It was the third institution last year to admit to providing inaccurate and inflated data. The other two, Claremont McKenna College and my own employer, Emory University, reported inflated SAT scores. And there are most likely many more instances of data falsification.

I’m not absolving anyone of blame, but there is an inherent conflict of interest in asking those who are most invested in the rankings to self-report data.

Furthermore, the formula used in the rankings is poor. U.S. News calculates “student selectivity”—how picky the college is—based in large part on how many students were in the top 10 percent of their high-school classes. However, the National Association for College Admission Counseling reported that most small private and competitive high schools no longer report class rank, and some public high schools are also forgoing reporting this rank to their students and colleges. But U.S. News still includes it as a category.

While the rankings themselves are suspect, U.S. News’s criteria are a disincentive for colleges to evolve. For example, they discourage colleges from selecting a diverse student body. An institution that begins accepting more African-American students or students from low-income families—two groups that have among the lowest SAT scores, according to the College Board—might see its ranking drop because the average SAT score of its freshmen has gone down.

The rankings also discourage colleges from keeping pace with the digital revolution and doing things more efficiently. For example, in its law-school rankings, U.S. News rewards higher numbers of library volumes and titles, even though the move toward digital formats should make that measure obsolete. Meanwhile, dollars spent per student are rewarded as well, so if colleges perform more cost-effectively, perhaps by using newer technologies like online learning, they are penalized.

Other ranking systems aren’t any better. Forbes, which also annually rates colleges based on value and quality of teaching, includes as part of its scoring system student evaluations from Rate My Professors (notorious for its “hotness” category). These student evaluations are anonymous and unverified, so a student unhappy with her grade or even the professor can comment.

In some systems, colleges can pay to be included. The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings now has a “star system.” The QS star system is able to use publicly available data for some institutions, like Harvard. But beginning in 2011, the vast majority of other colleges included in the QS star system paid $30,400 for an initial audit and a three-year license for participation. A New York Times article last month highlighted how many of those paying colleges received high star marks in the QS ratings, yet aren’t rated highly in other ratings systems.

Defenders will say these rankings provide a place for prospective students to compare data from various institutions, and may get them to consider ones they were not aware of. Although the rankings do highlight information on institutions, including class size and graduation rates, they miss important measures such as student learning and the university experience. A recent survey conducted by Gallup for Inside Higher Ed reported that only 14 percent of admissions directors believed that these rankings helped students find a college with a good fit.

Students might be better off turning to reports like the National Survey of Student Engagement, which annually collects information from more than 500 institutions about student participation in programs and activities geared toward learning and personal development. At Emory, for instance, we started a program called Living-Learning Communities, which gives upperclassmen incentives to live on campus and participate in residential learning. But you would never learn about that from the ranking formulas.

Competition and colorful magazines are alluring, but we should expect the scores to be meaningfuland accurate. Emory, for its part, has developed a data-advisory committee to ensure a consistent and accurate method to report all institutional data. Other colleges should put in place similar checks of internal data validity or have external audits.

Meanwhile, ranking organizations should develop more-meaningful measures around diversity of students, job placement, acceptance into professional schools, faculty membership in national academies, and student engagement. Instead of being assigned a numerical rank, institutions should be grouped by tiers and categories of programs. The last thing students want is to be seen as a number. Colleges shouldn’t want that, either.

Debra Houry is an associate professor in the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

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The Future of AP Testing and College Credit

Although high AP scores have traditionally translated to credits for introductory-level university courses, schools are increasingly questioning this practice. According to this New York Times article, Dartmouth College has recently decided to stop awarding credit to students with high AP scores. Is this a new trend? Will other schools follow suit? What do you think?
January 22, 2013, 12:25 pm

Should Colleges Stop Giving Credit for High A.P. Scores?


Dartmouth College, the Ivy League school in New Hampshire, has recently announced that it will no longer give college credit to students who score well on Advanced Placement tests, my colleague Tamar Lewin reports:

Elite institutions like Dartmouth have long discussed how to handle the growing number of freshmen seeking credit for top scores on A.P. or International Baccalaureate exams. Dartmouth changed its policy after an experiment measuring whether top A.P. scores indicated college-level competence.

“The psychology department got more and more suspicious about how good an indicator a 5 on the A.P. psych exam was for academic success,” said Hakan Tell, a classics professor who heads Dartmouth’s Committee on Instruction, so the department decided to give a condensed version of the Psych 1 final to incoming students instead of giving them credits.

Of more than 100 students who had scored a 5 on the A.P. exam, 90 percent failed the Dartmouth test. The other 10 percent were given Dartmouth credit.

An official of the College Board, which administers the A.P. program, found Dartmouth’s findings “very difficult to believe.”

Still, Dartmouth’s decision, which will affect the class of 2018, may influence other colleges and universities to make similar decisions.


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Changing Training and Testing Process for Prospective Lawyers in Korea and the Effect on LL.M. Recruitment

Korean legal programs are currently restructuring the training process for prospective lawyers. Previously, the Korean bar exam was open to all applicants. However, new 2009 laws will restrict eligibility to those who have completed 3 year law programs in the coming decade. These developments will affect the recruitment of students for LL.M. programs in particular. Many law schools in the United States and EducationUSA are keeping an eye on these trends, and we will post updates as they become available.

Most U.S.-style law schools pass first evaluation

7 out of 25 receive warnings, but none determined to be unqualified

Jan 22,2013

Of the 25 newly formed U.S.-style law schools which dispatched their first set of graduates last year, 18 schools met all criteria in the first official evaluation conducted by the Korean Bar Association.

The remaining seven law schools, including Korea University, received a warning to improve their standards within a year, the bar association revealed yesterday.

Over the past three years, the Law School Evaluation Committee under the Korean Bar Association conducted a review of various criteria, including the quality of professors, curriculum, facilities and scholarship funds of the 25 Western-style law schools established by the government in 2009.

Only students who complete three years of schooling are eligible to take the new bar exam. This system replaces the former nationwide bar exam, which was open to everyone and is currently being phased out by 2018.

The seven law schools that received warnings were: Hanyang, Korea and Sungkyunkwan universities in Seoul, Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, Dong-A University in Busan, Chonnam National University in Gwangju and Chungbuk National University in Cheongju.

These seven schools can receive approval by the committee by meeting the criteria that they failed to meet this time around within one year.

The evaluation process under regulation is conducted every five years, and this evaluation’s purpose was not to rank the schools but confirm that they meet minimal standards of 29 subsections under eight categories, including admissions, research opportunities, educational facilities and school’s objectives.

Of these schools, Chonnam and Chungbuk national universities had the highest number of areas to “improve” in, such as scholarship funds that fall short of the average and substandard legal clinic budgets for Chonnam.

In contrast, law schools including Kyung Hee University received “excellent” in eight criteria, Ajou and Ewha Womans universities in six and Seoul National University in five areas. Korea University received an excellent in eight areas and one warning for professors exceeding the standard average of lecture hours. No schools were evaluated as unqualified.

Han Boo-whan, 65, chair of the committee, said, “Some law schools have been advised to address the problems that have been revealed,” through the course of the evaluation. But he added that “overall, the law schools are being managed well.”

“It is important to emphasize that these schools met certain criteria and have an opportunity to qualify after they improve in certain areas in one year’s time,” the secretariat office of the evaluation committee.

“Because this is the first evaluation, it is very much a trial run,” a National Assembly representative stated yesterday. “In the future, the evaluation process will be expanded to include the percentage of students who pass the bar examination and other criteria.”

By Sarah Kim, Kim Ki-hwan []


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Conditional Admissions and Pathway Programs

Pathway and conditional admission programs have been growing for years. With this growth, some question whether or not universities are lowering admissions standards or making an American education accessible to more. Read on for more ideas about this question!

Conditionally Yours

January 3, 2013 – 3:00am

American colleges seeking to increase their international student enrollments are offering more flexible admission policies than ever before. An increasing number of institutions offer conditional admission programs for students whose English proficiency test scores fall short of minimum cutoffs, and at many colleges the terms of these programs are changing.

Whereas the traditional model has been for conditionally admitted students to complete a non-credit-bearing intensive English as a Second Language course sequence before matriculating into the university, a growing number of colleges are creating pathway programs through which students can enroll concurrently in ESL and academic courses. In many cases, students can even earn academic credit for their ESL coursework.

Conditional admissions is not a new practice — universities with well-regarded, accredited language institutes like Michigan State have been doing it for decades — but what is (relatively) new is the sheer scope and variety of these programs. Driving the growth has been the rapid rise in the number of Chinese and Saudi Arabian students, who together make up 29.9 percent of all international students in the United States. These students have the means to pay for an American higher education – or, in the case of Saudi students, government scholarships to support them – but in many cases need additional English language training.

In 2011, the average test-taker scored an 80 out of a possible 120 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language, while the mean scores for Chinese and Saudi students were 77 and 61, respectively.  A college with a cut score of, say, 79 (like Michigan State) therefore risks cutting off well over half the potential applicant pool from these two countries if it doesn’t have some kind of mechanism for conditional admission.

“What conditional admissions does is it provides opportunity for that student who would not otherwise have made it, and it gives a chance for an institution to reach out to a student who it would not have been able to recruit otherwise,” said Rahul Choudaha, who researches international student recruitment in his capacity as director of research and advisory services at World Education Services, a credential evaluation agency. “I do see the value for a particular segment of students and institutions to have this kind of mechanism. The challenge is the misuse of it.”

As Choudaha asked, “How do you ensure that while you provide opportunity and a second chance to students, it does not lead to an overlooking of minimum standards set by the university?”

Barmak Nassirian, an independent higher education consultant and former staffer at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, agreed that well-designed conditional admission and pathway programs are a good idea in the abstract, but the challenge is upholding standards when there are competing motivations – chief among them money. Colleges aren’t typically in the business of creating specialized programs for students who fall on the wrong side of a bright-line requirement, but there is money to be made by recruiting – and retaining – a larger and larger pool of international undergraduate students.

“My concern is that there is an enormous gray zone where all kinds of practices can be justified in the name of hand-holding and in the name of ‘this student will eventually get to the right place,’ ” Nassirian said.

The practice of conditional admissions may be coming under new scrutiny.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently raised concerns about the common practice of issuing I-20s certifying admission to a degree program when in fact students are being admitted under the condition that they first enroll in an intensive English program. Prospective international students present I-20s in applying for visas.

“The concern with this practice is that this is essentially defrauding the immigration requirements by telling SEVP [the Student and Exchange Visitor Program] the student met the admission criteria [for the degree program listed] on their I-20 when they did not,” the Homeland Security department said in a statement. “The other issue with this trend is that it leaves DHS with the wrong impression with regard to the student’s location. For example, the ESL program may be in a physical location not listed on the I-20, thus defeating the purpose of tracking the student’s location through [the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System].” The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue new draft guidance on conditional admissions and pathway programs soon.

“How do you ensure that while you provide opportunity and a second chance to students, it does not lead to an overlooking of minimum standards set by the university?”
–Rahul Choudaha, World Education Services

Beyond regulatory issues, questions have also arisen with regard to conditional admissions and academic standards. In September, a dean at the University of San Francisco reportedly resigned due to concerns about the recruitment of large numbers of Chinese students who lacked the necessary English proficiency and the effect of this on the overall classroom experience. USF raised its minimum TOEFL score this fall – requiring that students not only earn a 79 on the Internet-based test (the previous requirement), but that they also score a 17 or above on each of the four subsections.

However, the university also increased the number of international students who were admitted conditionally. According to the institution’s website – officials at USF declined to comment for this article – students with TOEFL scores ranging from 48 to 78 are eligible to apply for conditional admission, and conditionally admitted students enroll concurrently in ESL and academic courses. Conditionally admitted students typically take between eight and 16 credits of English each semester, and these credits count as electives. A total of 143 Chinese freshmen were conditionally admitted to USF this fall, 23 of whom exceeded the university’s previous minimum cut score.

Furthermore, recent revelations about low standards for faculty and students at the University of Southern Utah’s intensive English program have raised questions about varying levels of institutional oversight of ESL programs, which generally serve a gatekeeper function when it comes to conditionally admitted students (as it is the ESL faculty who determine who passes each level of English and who ultimately qualifies for matriculation into the university). Although there is nothing to suggest that Southern Utah’s ESL program is typical, it is one case in which some students seem to have progressed through the program and into the university without reaching the level of English proficiency they would need to succeed.

The minimum English proficiency test scores required by U.S. universities for direct admission vary dramatically. Minimum TOEFL scores for direct undergraduate admission can range from 45 (at, for example, the University of Alaska Anchorage) to 100 at Ivy League institutions and elite liberal arts colleges (such as AmherstColumbiaand Yale). For many selective but nonelite institutions, 79-80 seems to be the norm.

For students who fall below cut scores, but otherwise are determined to meet a university’s admissions requirements, options vary. Some colleges establish a floor for conditional admission – for example, a university with a minimum TOEFL requirement of 79 for direct undergraduate entry might offer conditional admission only to students with a score of 68 or above – while others will conditionally admit students at any level of English language proficiency.

Some colleges require conditionally admitted students to enroll in a university-governed intensive English program, while others have partnerships with private language providers. The largest of these, ELS, has relationships with 613 colleges that accept completion of its English for Academic Purposes Program as proof of English proficiency. Of these institutions, 572 make admission offers to students on the condition that they successfully complete ELS’ curriculum. ELS — whose centers are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training — has 60 locations in the U.S., 53 of which are located on college campuses. Twelve of the 60 centers have opened in the last three years — at East Tennessee State, Ohio Dominican, Marquette, Northern Illinois, and Texas Tech Universities; the Universities of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Houston at Clear Lake, Mary Washington, and Tampa; Bates Technical College; and in “city centers” in Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley.

David Hawkins, the director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said the association’s Commission on International Student Recruitment has discussed the growth of conditional admission and pathway programs in the course of its ongoing discussions. The commission has focused largely on thecontroversial practice of using agents paid on commission in the recruitment of international students – a practice that’s barred under federal law when it comes to domestic student admissions.

Hawkins said two concerns expressed by commission members are the degree to which conditional admission and pathway programs are integrated into the institution and the extent to which the university controls them (or doesn’t). “Everyone understands that some of these programs generate revenue and are administered in a different way than the university handles traditional admissions,” Hawkins said. “They’re different business entities, if you will. And I think the concern that stems from that is perhaps the university doesn’t have oversight over the third parties that are involved in the transaction and that there are different tactics used to recruit students. The idea that there are commissioned sales going on in this environment is something that’s been discussed.” ELS, for example, has a global network of about 1,700 agents who earn commissions from the company for students recruited to its English language programs.

Conditional admission and pathway programs can perform two main functions: 1) they create a new pipeline of international students who wouldn’t otherwise be admissible and 2) they provide international students with additional support and a lower-stakes environment in which they can acclimate to the expectations of the U.S. higher education system. The University of Delaware, which has created a robust conditional admissions program in the last five years, raised its TOEFL requirement for direct undergraduate admission to 90 to capture more students in the Conditional Admissions Program (CAP). Scott Stevens, the director of Delaware’s (university-governed) English Language Institute, estimates that about 80 percent of the university’s undergraduate international students are admitted conditionally.

“Part of the idea behind CAP is a recognition that simply having a score on an iBT [the Internet-based version of the TOEFL] does not in any way, shape or form indicate that a student is fully prepared,” Stevens said. “The idea is for these students to learn what we call in the profession ‘cognitive academic language proficiency.’ So it’s not simply understanding and speaking the language, but being able to take notes, being able to read and write critically, reading and writing academic texts, being able to participate actively in problem-based learning and making presentations: this is a very wide and complex skill set. You can’t just in any way assume that a student with a 90 iBT will have that.”

“We really see CAP as a much, much better way of preparing students for matriculation and frankly another way of vetting those students who perhaps got those [English proficiency test] scores by luck or maybe by some dishonest means,” Stevens said.

Delaware’s intensive English institute, which is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, is of the traditional model: students cannot matriculate into university courses until they complete the English language course sequence and they do not earn academic credits for their ESL courses, save for the very highest level writing class. Stevens said he worries about the growing trend in which universities grant academic credit for ESL courses: “I don’t see how one can justify that.”

Ed McManness, director of the International Institute at La Salle University, in Philadelphia, says the justification is a straightforward one. “When we went to college we got credit for language whether we took Spanish or French or German, but many of us couldn’t take an academic test or write an essay in that language. But still we passed a course and got credit for it.”

La Salle has a new pathway program this year that allows students with TOEFL scores between 64 and 79 to earn 30 academic credits in their first year. (La Salle’s recommended minimum TOEFL for direct undergraduate entry is 76, but, as McManness explained, some students who meet or exceed the minimum still feel they can benefit from the transitional program.) Each semester, pathway students take two ESL courses in their pathway cohort and one history course taught exclusively for the pathway students, in addition to enrolling in two courses in the university at large. In another twist, the pathway students are considered fully admitted to La Salle, rather than conditionally, despite their low TOEFLs.

“Students learn language when their learning situation contains the vocabulary and the information they really want to learn,” McManness said of the benefit of letting students begin courses in their majors early on. “It’s not simply like being in an intensive language program.”

“The key thing for us is that the ex-pathway students are performing at the same level as the direct international, if not slightly better. That’s interesting when on paper they didn’t qualify for direct entry in the first place.”
–Bob Gilmour, director of academic programs for Oregon State’s INTO OSU.

The pathway approach, in which students enroll in a mix of academic and credit-bearing English coursework in a foundation semester or year, continues to grow in popularity. The programs appeal to international students who wish to begin academic coursework right away, for financial or other reasons. Some of these programs are run by institutions (like La Salle’s). For example, Miami University, in Ohio, is now in its second year of offering a semesterlong American Culture and English program, in which students with TOEFL scores of 65-75 can be conditionally admitted and enroll in a one-semester, 15- to 17-credit pathway program consisting of two ESL courses – worth nine credits all together — one sophomore-level American studies course (taught in a special section, reserved for students in the program) and one regular university course. The program also offers co-curricular activities and excursions and requires all students to live on campus with American roommates. In its first three semesters, the program has enrolled 120 students, the vast majority of whom are Chinese.

Meanwhile, George Mason University’s one-year, 28-credit ACCESS program, open to students with TOEFLs of 68 or above, consists of a mix of academic, freshman transition, and English-language support classes. The students, who are predominantly from Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates, are provisionally admitted into the university pending successful completion of the program. The program is now in its third year, and its director, Nicole Sealey, said it experienced one-year retention rates of 70 and 86 percent for the first and second cohorts, respectively. (Mason’s overall one-year persistence rate is around 86 percent.)

Increasingly, for-profit companies are partnering with U.S. colleges to offer foundation or pathway programs. The emergence of these companies has attracted controversy (for much more on that, see this Inside Higher Ed article), but they continue to expand their footprints. An Australian company, Navitas, runs pathway programs at three branches of the University of Massachusetts, as well as at the University of New Hampshire and Western Kentucky University, while Kaplan International Colleges runs “Global Pathways” programs at Pace and Northeastern Universities and the University of Utah.

Study Group, which offers pathway programs at James Madison and Widener Universities, just announced it would open a new location at Roosevelt University, in Chicago, next fall. And INTO University Partnerships, which enters into long-term, joint ventures with partner universities, has established pathway programs at Colorado State and Oregon State Universities and the University of South Florida. It announced a new partnership, with Marshall University, in West Virginia, in November.

The oldest of the INTO programs, at Oregon State, has about 400 students enrolled in pathway programs offering entry into various undergraduate majors and graduate programs. For example, a student enrolled in a pathway program in business will take a slate of courses in anthropology, ESL, English composition, health, math, and public speaking, as well as an introductory business course. Oregon State retains control over the academics: the ESL instructors are Oregon State employees, and content courses in the various disciplines are controlled and taught by faculty in the corresponding academic departments. Students in the undergraduate pathway programs must earn a minimum 2.25 GPA and at least a C- in English composition and college algebra to progress into Oregon State with sophomore standing at the end of the pathway year.

The students who gain entry into INTO pathway programs may fall below standards for direct university admission not only in terms of English, but also GPA: while Oregon State requires a TOEFL of 80 and a GPA of 3.0 for direct undergraduate entry, students can be provisionally admitted into the INTO OSU undergraduate pathway programs with a 60 on the TOEFL and a 2.5 GPA. “The assessment of a credential from a high school beyond our borders – in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh — is more art than science,” said David Stremba, the managing director for INTO North America.  “It’s very difficult to understand the level of rigor; it’s very difficult to understand a system that is often quite different than what we’re used to in the United States.”

A pathway program, Stremba  said, is about “leveling the playing field, and allowing very good students to prove that they are ready for a degree program.” Not all will succeed – in using the metaphor ”widening the funnel,” Stremba emphasized that a funnel is by nature widest at the top – but many will. Oregon State and INTO report that for the fall and winter 2011-12 cohorts, 67 percent of undergraduate pathway students successfully completed the program and progressed into Oregon State as sophomores. Another 3 percent completed and transferred into other universities, and another 22 percent are currently retaking one or more pathway courses and still have the chance to advance into OSU. Eight percent failed or dropped out.

Of those who do progress, former pathway students earn higher average GPAs than international sophomores who were directly admitted to Oregon State: 2.78 to 2.64.

“The key thing for us is that the ex-pathway students are performing at the same level as the direct international, if not slightly better,” said Bob Gilmour, director of academic programs for INTO OSU. “That’s interesting when on paper they didn’t qualify for direct entry in the first place.”

Gilmour said the benefit of a pathway model is that it allows universities to maintain or even raise their standards for direct admission while still creating opportunity for students who fall below those standards. “It’s really creating a buffer zone for the university, which is in everyone’s interest, including the students themselves,” Gilmour said. “They know what they have to achieve in that pathway year and it’s really in their hands to achieve it.”


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Parents, Courts and Schools Debate the Fate of 1+3 Programs at Korean Private Universities

Recently, the fate of 1+3 programs in Korea has been in question. Last year in November, the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ordered 20 private universities to shut down their 1+3 programs. However, parents of 1+3 students at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Chung-Ang University have protested this decision, and the Seoul Administrative Court has accepted an injunction filed by parents to suspend the shutdown of the program. EducationUSA Korea is actively monitoring the situation, and we expect more developments to come very soon.

Please refer to this short piece from the Korea Times.

Parents clash with university over disputed study program

By Kim Bo-eun

Parents of students who were accepted into Chung-Ang University on a course involving overseas study are in a dispute with the school about whether the foreign study component will be reinstated, after it was ordered to be cancelled in December last year by the government.

The “1+3 Overseas Study Program,” introduced in 2009, required students to complete one year at a local university and the remaining three years of study at an overseas school to earn a bachelor’s degree.

However, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ordered 20 private universities across the nation to shut down the programs in November, citing that they did not comply with the Higher Education Law. Chung-Ang abolished their program the following month.

Some 50 parents occupied the president’s office Monday afternoon, staging a sit-in and calling for the school to reinstate the program.

“Some 240 students were accepted for the program last December and have even paid the tuition, but the school is just sitting back, ignoring the issue, saying the shutdown was a government order,” said one parent.

The shutdown of the program triggered a strong backlash because it came after schools had finished selecting students for the 2013 academic year.

The Seoul Administrative Court accepted a filing by a group of parents to suspend the shutdown of the program, Tuesday. The court had earlier rejected a filing by a single parent.

On Monday, the court accepted the same injunction applied for by parents of students at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS).

“The school has yet to announce its stance on the issue, but it will make an effort to serve the students’ best interests,” a school official said.

The education ministry said it would make an appeal and take adequate measures to improve the original lawsuit.

Parents at Chung-Ang met with school officials earlier on Tuesday to discuss the issue but the school maintained its stance that it cannot revive the program.

“The school said it would provide the alternative of allowing students to sit in on classes for their first year, but parents are refusing to accept this,” said one official who declined to be named.

“It is unacceptable that students, who were accepted through legitimate procedures, not be enrolled as regular students,” said another parent.

Students for the program are selected by overseas schools. Chung-Ang and HUFS have been offering the program with California State University and the State University of New York, respectively.

Therefore, students applying for the program do not take the Korean college entrance exam. Nor do they take the American SAT.

“We cannot speak about the specifics of the admissions process, because all of it is done between the overseas schools and the students. Chung-Ang and other local universities just assume the role of managing the students in their first year,” said the official.

According to him, the students belong to the overseas schools once they are accepted into the program, and therefore pay their entire tuition fees to that school, starting their freshman year.

The education ministry ordered a halt to the program, citing that it was illegitimate, because students were enrolled in domestic schools but did not receive degrees from them.

The high costs of attending the overseas schools, and the seemingly loose admissions criteria, have also been cited as providing an easy way for children of rich families to obtain an overseas education.


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Distance Learning Trends in the Korean Higher Ed Market

As universities around the world continue to embrace distance learning options in their curricula, Korean universities are no exception. This recent article published in the Korea Herald outlines some of the characteristics and players unique to the Korean market.

Distance learning booms thanks to social shifts

2013-01-16 19:41

For the past 40 years, the Korea National Open University has played a key role in broadening higher education in the nation.

More than 528,000 students, mostly unable to attend a regular university or wanting additional learning in their spare time, received a degree through its distance learning program on TV and radio.

The school is taking on greater roles with the sweeping changes in education spurred by technology, globalization and an aging population.

An increasing portion of its students are degree holders determined to further improve their knowledge and career skills. Its lectures are accessible anytime, anywhere, through the Internet and mobile devices.

“The needs for distance learning is becoming more important with the advent of the aging society and increased life expectancy,” said Cho Nam-chul, the president of the KNOU in an interview with The Korea Herald.

“An increasing number of young employees come to the institution looking to develop their careers in specific sectors, such as public administration, law and finance,” he said.

The school is also expanding its global network to attract more overseas Koreans and foreign students.

“The world today has become a society in which all pursue learning throughout their lifetime,” he added.

Located in Daehakno, Seoul, the KNOU was founded in 1972 as Korea’s first distance learning institution. Cho, 61, joined the school as professor in 1987 and took office as president in September 2010.

The key strength of the school is its system of combining classroom and online instruction, he said.

The KNOU uses Web-based lectures as well as TV and audio lectures to enable students to study via a variety of multimedia to overcome time and distance barriers in learning.

It also has 13 regional campuses and 32 study centers around the country, which provide face-to-face lectures and conduct offline student assessments.

“In the early days, students tuned in to radio or television, and more recently they log on to their computers to access the KNOU’s lectures. Now an increasing number of students use their smartphones to hear lectures,” Cho said.

Last year the KNOU developed a smartphone application called U-KNOU to create a more effective and time-saving combination of text, audio and video classes for students. According to the president, the mobile learning platform has already attracted more than 55,000 students.

“Now students are very mobile and they prefer learning content on simple and portable devices,” he said.

Online education is one of the fastest-changing fields in the education industry. Over the past couple of years universities across Europe and the U.S. have set up Web-based resources. Called Massive Open Online Courses, the programs provide recorded lectures, course materials and academic discussion forums to anyone free-of-charge.

Top-rated institutions such as Stanford University and Harvard University have jumped onto the online education bandwagon, posing a potential challenge to existing distance-learning institutions like the KNOU.

He agreed that education is strengthened by universal access to free and high-quality online courses. But MOOCs do not offer any credit or certification, he noted.

“Free online learning is an inevitable trend. We also started offering some of our courses without fees,” he said.

The real value of distance learning lies not in the courses they make available on the Web, but the huge number of ambitious and committed students that they can recruit, he stressed.

The school began its online program in 2004 and the enrollment reached its peak in 2009 with more than 180,000 students.

Low costs make distance learning popular as tuition fees of other institutions have been soaring in recent years.

Taking an undergraduate course at the KNOU costs between 350,000 won and 370,000 won ($330-$350) a semester, less than one-tenth of those campus-based universities.

Its annual graduates now surpass 20,000 in its four colleges ― the college of liberal arts, social sciences, natural sciences and educational sciences. It also opened the first graduate school for lifelong education among distance-learning institutions.

Cho is also utilizing its global network as its key project for future development.

In 2012, the KNOU started to provide an online nursing course for overseas Koreans in New York, and plans to expand it in Los Angeles.

“We’re working on expanding our Learning Management System for overseas education. We aim to help more than 7 million Koreans living abroad to study through our online learning programs.”

The school also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Unification to help develop education courses for North Korean defectors. It is also working on programs for multicultural families, he said.

He pointed out that adult education was becoming ever more important with the lengthening of lifespan.

“Korea is fast becoming an aged society and people need to consider a second job after retirement,” he said. “It’s time to provide tailored learning programs for people according to their age groups.”

The school is extending learning curricula for those aged 40 and older who need to develop skills for career development for after retirement.

The school launched a special college for adults called Prime College, which offers those aged between 40 and 50 various learning experiences in art, farming, foreign languages and other fields.

“Lifelong learning is now one of the key topics for our future society. We’ll continue to develop unique methods of study to offer students opportunities to prolong their studies and to play a leading role in making Korea a lifelong learning society,” he said.

By Oh Kyu-wook (


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The President-Elect’s Education Policies

South Korea’s President-Elect, Park Geun-Hye, is considering policy changes that may impact international student recruiting in Korea. Among her proposals are making free high school education available to all students regardless of socio-economic status, decreasing college tuition fees, providing opportunities for middle school students to explore vocations, and creating a new science and technology ministry. Please read on for a brief synopsis of these trends from The Korea Herald.

Education ministry aims to make high school education free by 2017

2013-01-15 15:49

The education ministry will aim to make high school education free for everyone by 2017 as part of efforts to implement President-elect Park Geun-hye’s campaign pledges on education policy, officials said Tuesday.

Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology reported the plan to the presidential transition committee during a policy briefing earlier in the day, saying that it would expand the current program that provides free education only to students in vocational schools or from low-income families.

These groups account for about a third of all high schoolers.

If realized, the plan will help ensure all children aged 3-17 receive free childcare and education before the end of Park’s administration. The outgoing government is pushing to provide free childcare services to all children aged 3 to 5.

On Park’s pledge to halve the burden of college tuition fees, the ministry said it expects to be able to give scholarships to all students in the bottom 30 percent income bracket within this year, a year ahead of schedule.

Ministry officials also reported plans to implement Park’s pledge to exempt middle school students from taking exams for one semester during which they will be able to explore possible career paths.

Based on Park’s pledge to launch a new ministry overseeing the science and technology industry, the officials said they plan to increase investment in scientific research and development to 5 percent of gross domestic product.


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Different Levels of Student Mobility at Business Schools Around the Globe

As increasing numbers of campuses abroad gain AACSB accreditation, levels of student mobility begin to vary among regions. Read on for some information about this new trend!

27 DECEMBER 2012

Different Levels of Student Mobility

By Hanna Drozdowski

Students no longer feel the need to stay in their home country to pursue higher education. AACSB-accredited schools are appearing in all regions of the world, now spanning nearly 50 countries and territories, providing students with more opportunities to pursue top quality business education in almost every region of the world! My colleague, Colin Nelson, and I recently took a look into the differences in student mobility among different regions at different program levels, based on the results from the most recent Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) data. The table below shows that there are significant differences among different regions, and at different academic levels: Student Mobility Regional Differences

What about these data are most interesting to you? I immediately noticed the significant difference among undergraduate and doctoral students outside the host country in the Northern American region. The data illustrate a similar pattern in the European region, including a majority of students at the doctoral level studying outside their country of origin. However, the opposite trend is seen in Western Asia & North Africa, where we see the highest proportion of students outside the host country at the undergraduate level, and the lowest at the doctoral level.

However, motivations for student mobility differ among regions, as well as among students. Some students choose to study abroad in pursuit for a higher quality education; others may believe the international experience will enhance their resume making them more attractive to recruiters. In the European region, the presence of longstanding intergovernmental programs such as ERASMUS and the implementation of the Bologna Process clearly make a positive impact on the ability and inclination of students to pursue higher education across national borders.

Regionally, the percentage of internationally mobile graduate students enrolled at AACSB member schools is significantly lower in Latin America & the Caribbean, in Eastern, South-Eastern, & Southern Asia, and in Western Asia & Northern Africa, vs. in Europe and in Oceania. Northern America has a notably high majority of internationally mobile students at the doctoral level, while Oceania even has a majority at the masters-specialist level. Could these trends be a reflection of where mobile students think the better quality programs are, at those respective levels? Do internationally mobile doctoral students see Northern America and Europe as the hub for business doctoral research, while students seeking a specialized master’s program see the best offerings in the countries of Oceania?

There are a number of possible reasons for these distributions that the data alone can only suggest, not prove. However, it will be interesting to see how these distributions will change, particularly in emerging economies, where the presence of AACSB membership among business schools continues to grow.


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Ministry cracks down on illegal overseas study programs

Study abroad agencies have increasingly offered alternative routes into the US higher education system for international students. Recently, the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has investigated them and deemed some of the activities to be illegal.

Ministry cracks down on illegal overseas study programs

2013-01-06 17:12

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has filed a complaint with the prosecution against 12 private agencies involved in illegal overseas study programs.

The accused agencies have been luring students who seek to obtain an overseas degree by allowing them to transfer to foreign colleges without tests, the ministry said Sunday.

Under their special admission programs, students study English for one or two years in local colleges and transfer as second or third-year students to foreign colleges in the United States, according to the ministry.

Reports said the agencies have operated the program in cooperation with 19 Korean universities, including Chung-Ang University and Sogang University.

The ministry said the program breached the education law because the agencies are not qualified to teach students.

According to the current law, students at Korean schools can earn foreign diplomas through “authorized” dual or joint degree programs.

But unlike the legitimate courses, the illegal programs allow students without registering at local universities for relevant domestic degrees to study at foreign colleges, the ministry said.

“The agencies have no right to teach students, but they made students pay between 10 million and 20 million won ($9,400-$18,800) for a one year course here, misrepresenting them as part of the foreign degree course,” an official from the ministry said.

The ministry said it had already asked Korean schools operating the illegal programs in connection with the agencies to stop recruiting students.

By Oh Kyu-wook

<한글 기사>

‘유학의 꿈’ 앗아가는 불법 유학원 적발

교육과학기술부가 ‘1+3 국제전형’ 등 불법 국외 유학 프로그램을 운영하는 유학원들을 대거 검찰에 고발했다.

교과부는 1+3, 1+2, 2+2 등 불법 유학 과정을 운영한 국내 유학원 12곳에 대해 등교육법ㆍ외국교육기관 특별법ㆍ학원법 위반 혐의로 4일 대검찰청에 고발했다고 6일 밝혔다.

문제가 된 유학과정은 학생이 1년이나 2년 한국에서 영어와 기초 교양 수업을 듣고 미국과 영국 등의 2∼4년제 대학에 편입해 학업을 마치는 제도다.

고발된 유학원들은 모두 국내 대학의 본부나 부설 평생교육원과 함께 학생을 뽑고 대학 강의실을 빌려 수업을 한 것으로 조사됐다.

교과부는 이런 국내 교육행위가 고등교육법을 어기고 무인가 대학을 운영한  것에 해당하며 미등록 교습과정으로서 학원법도 위반한 것으로 판정했다.

또 외국학교법인이 외국교육기관을 국내에 설립할 때 교과부 장관의 승인을  받아야 한다는 외국교육기관특별법 규정도 어겼다고 보고 있다.

교과부는 앞서 유학원들과 함께 1+3전형 등을 운영하던 대학들에 작년 11월  프로그램 폐쇄 명령을 내렸다.

교과부는 유학원들이 폐쇄 조처가 내려진 이후에도 학교 시설을 빌려  교육과정을 계속 운영하자 검찰 고발을 결정했다.

교과부는 그러나 국내 대학들이 외국학교와 협정을 맺고 정원 내에서 운영하는 복수학위제나 경제자유구역 등에서 문을 연 외국대 분교는 합법이라고 설명했다.

교과부 관계자는 “문제가 되는 유학 과정은 대학의 적법한 전형처럼 프로그램을 홍보해 학생과 학부모에게 혼란을 일으키고 영리 목적으로 1년에 1천만∼2천만원의 교습비를 요구하고 있다”며 주의를 당부했다.


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Schools of Design Extend Their Reach Into Asia

The international extension of university branch campuses has been a trend in high education for the past decade. Now, universities that train students for employment in the creative industries are increasingly looking towards extending branches of their institutions in Asia. This recent article from the New York Times briefly discusses the experiences that some institutions have had in their efforts.
January 6, 2013

Schools of Design Extend Their Reach Into Asia


More Western education institutions are looking to open up in Asia — and U.S. art and design schools are no exception. While the potential for growth is huge, given Asia’s rising creative industries, the actual logistics can be complicated.

The Savannah College of Art and Design opened a campus in September 2010 in Sham Shui Po, a district of Hong Kong, after extensive research on opportunities in Asia. The school spent 250 million Hong Kong dollars, or $32 million, of its own capital to revitalize the former North Kowloon Magistracy building, which it received from the Hong Kong government in 2009 amid some controversy that the heritage site was given to a foreign school instead of a local group.

“SCAD sees in Asia an increasing demand for and appreciation of art and design talents with a global perspective in fields ranging from digital media to fashion design and luxury management,” Grant Preisser, associate vice president of SCAD Hong Kong, said by e-mail.

“It makes perfect sense for us to be in Asia, as many of our graduates will be looking to develop creative careers here,” he said. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, international city with strong market growth and an ongoing need for creative talent.”

Having a presence in Asia can also benefit students at the school’s main campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. (It also has a study-abroad location in Lacoste, France).

Still, SCAD Hong Kong had trouble with recruitment in the beginning. According to The South China Morning Post, it opened in 2010 with only 141 students, or less than half its initial target of 300. At full capacity, the school could hold up to 800 students.

Last autumn, it got its total student enrollment up to 330. About 60 percent are from Hong Kong, and 40 percent from 15 other countries and territories.

Parsons The New School for Design, based in New York, is exploring initiatives in Asia that, unlike SCAD, will not require significant monetary investment. It has signed a cooperation agreement with a design education center in Shanghai established by Shanghai Textile Group Holdings, or Shangtex, which will allow it to offer programs there. The school has been given a floor in Shangtex’s corporate campus, where there will also be space for other design institutions like Esmod International, a Paris-based network of fashion institutes from all over the world.

A timeline has not yet been established for when courses would start at this center, but under consideration are summer and winter intensive courses for Parsons students, continuing and professional education programs and a program that would provide English-language instruction for those looking to enter design fields.

“The rapidly expanding interaction between cultures, markets and world regions has revolutionized the practice of design,” David E. Van Zandt, president of the New School, wrote by e-mail. “Design, while increasingly global, is also rooted in local cultures and social practices.”

“In order to thrive in this new global environment, students must be able to synthesize these often-differing perspectives into their own practice,” he added.

Mr. Van Zandt said Parsons was in discussions with a new design school in Mumbai, though he would not comment on details. While this would not be a Parsons operation, Parsons could help with curriculum development and faculty training. Parsons students could potentially have the opportunity to study in India and vice versa.

Parsons also announced in November that it would open a new center in Paris this coming autumn.

Like any major undertaking, establishing overseas campuses and programs take time. SCAD Hong Kong is one of few cross-border design schools that are actually up and running in Asia.

“As Asia’s role continues to grow in the global economy, businesses and industries will increasingly need to design with the Asian consumers in mind, not just in terms of products, but also marketing communications,” Mr. Preisser of SCAD said. “And, as more and more international brands extend their footprint and presence in Asia, they will be looking for design talents trained in Asia and attuned to the Asian marketplace.”

There are a few other Western players. Esmod already has branches in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Beijing and Jakarta.

And there are signs that Asian schools might cross borders regionally: Bunka Fashion College, based in Tokyo, plans to open a branch in Dalian, China, though no dates are set. Still, these programs are reasonably small or still in development.

“Asia is at a different stage of evolution in design education than the United States and Europe, which is why these countries have approached us with these types of opportunities, and why for many years their students have come to the U.S. and Europe to study,” Mr. Van Zandt of Parsons said. “As these countries continue to invest in the development of institutions for art and design education, there is certainly the potential for them to be competitive.”

One setback many may face is simple economics in a region that has some affluent cities but also many developing nations.

Tuition at SCAD’s Hong Kong campus is set at the same level as that of its U.S. campuses, which may be daunting to many students in the greater Southeast Asian region. Providing an internationally recognized design education at locally competitive tuition rates, however, could prove to be a challenge that prevents more Western schools from expanding into Asia.

Mr. Preisser said that as of September, the university had awarded nearly 31 million Hong Kong dollars in financial aid to students at the Hong Kong campus.


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