The Student Council officially finished collecting student union fees on Mar. 13, announcing that only 19.43 percent of UOS students paid the fees. This is a far lower percentage compared to other universities, even though many universities are generally experiencing a lower payment rate than in the past. According to the college newspaper of Hanyang University (HU), the student union fee was paid by 36.6 percent of the students. Chung-Ang University’s (CAU) payment rate was around 50 percent, and it was 45 percent in the case of 2013’s Seoul National University (SNU).
What might be the reasons for the relatively low payment rate of UOS? First, the student union fee is almost as twice as those of other universities. It increased from 10,000 won to 20,000 won last year while it remained as about 10,000 won in other universities: 9,500 won for CAU, 10,000 won for HU, and 11,000 won for SNU. Due to such a significant increase, students do not feel comfortable to pay it.
Another reason can be found in students’ consciousness. Students do not feel any valid necessity to make a financial commitment to student activities. An anonymous student interviewed with The UOS Times answered that she did not want to pay because she would not join the events held by the Student Council, and that she could not take any actual benefits from the payment. Despite such reluctance, student union fees play an important role in securing independent student finance. The Student Council must take action in order to return practical advantages to students but also to build up substantial credit with students.