Scholarships in Korea
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Common goals of scholarship donors in Korea
Scholarship donors and foundations indicate a multitude of reasons as to why they started to offer their scholarship program for students in Korea, while certain goals are mentioned repeatedly throughout all scholarship descriptions:
- Awarding excellent students for their display of academic performance
- Furthering academic and practical research in Korea, especially in sciences and IT
- Supporting and developing rare talent in very specific or technical majors.
- Fostering exchange of academic scholars throughout Asia and the world
- Easing the burden of tuition on students and PhD candidates
Differentiation of scholarships
The general availability, ease of accessibility and amount of funding (per stay and applicant) differs widely depends on the intended duration of study or research and the highest academic qualification of the applicant. Similar to other countries, scholarship applications for a short-term exchange (around six months) have the highest chance of success.
Internal (University) Scholarships
Korea University offers a variety of circa 20 scholarships, of which five are solely based on "grade in admission", while for rest of the scholarships, recipients are chosen by an "open selection" based on either merit or need or both.
The university also offers the "BK21" scholarship initiated by the Korean government. Its target applicants are IT majors in the graduate school, while another goal is the improvement of the faculty situation.
Aside from university scholarships, there are also multinational companies like Samsung who have their own education aid schemes. The Korean government also has schemes like the NIIED, IITA and KRF scholarships. Finally there are private foundations who offer scholarships.
Service Center for International Students
Since July 2012 the NIIED offers a dedicated service center for international students ("외국인유학생상담센터") that provides various information regarding Korea and the scholarship programs that International Students can apply for.
Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP)
Through the "National Institute for International Education Development" (NIIED), the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology offers one of the biggest and best known scholarships programs in Korea, the "Korean Government Scholarship Program" (KGSP). Over 200 international students receive financial support every year. Two programs exist, one for undergraduate students and one for graduate students.
The Global Korea Scholarship (GKS)
The equivalent undergraduate program has the name "Global Korea Scholarship" (GKS) and intends to support excellent international students from developing countries. Thus it is of limited reach, as sponsorship is granted depending on the students country of origin, excluding US-American, European (except Ukraine) and most African students. The NIIED also offers an Alumni community, that was institutionalized in 2008. It is important to note though, that the "GKS" is an umbrella term created by the NIIED, which implemented this scholarship program. Under GKS there can be found a wide variety of Inbound and Outbound support programs.
Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF)
The Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF) manages national government-supported student aid programs including need-based grants, merit-based scholarships and work-study programs. The Korea Student Aid Foundation was established by Korean law in the Act on the Establishment of the Korea Scholarship Foundation on May 7, 2009 (Act No. 9415 of February 6, 2009). KOSAF works closely together with the Ministry of Education. (MOE).
Samsung offers two different scholarships: First, the "Samsung Scholarship". Formerly known as "The Samsung Lee Kun Hee Scholarship Foundation", it was established in 2002. The Samsung Scholarship provides financial support, encouragement and opportunities to gifted Korean students pursuing higher education overseas. On the other hand, the company offers the Samsung Global Scholarship Program (Samsung GSP), which offers similar opportunities for talented international candidates interested in obtaining a Master of Science in Engineering or an MBA.
Scholarships of private foundations
Both the Korea Foundation (KF) and the Korea Research Foundation (KRF) offer scholarships to international and Korean students primarily on a graduate level. The Korea Foundation especially fosters students that major in subjects related to Korean language and culture, while the KRF puts a strong focus on sponsoring candidates interested in obtaining a scholarly career track, i.e. who are researching in the fields of Sciences and Engineering. But the KRF also offers special scholarships to Korean students with agricultural majors and selected undergraduate majors.
The "Korea Scholarship Foundation for Future Leaders" (KOSFFL, 한국지도자육성장학재단) provides scholarships to foreign graduate (i.e. Master's degree) students originating from Asian, Latin-American and African countries.
Inbound scholarships for Korean nationals
As far as not listed above, there are scholarships not only for Korean nationals but also so-called "ethnic Koreans".
Outbound scholarships for American citizens
Additionally to the described inbound scholarships for Koreans, there is a wide variety of outbound summer school-, language course- and study scholarships available for US citizens that want to go to Korea. The US government and private foundations offer such (short-term) stipends. This way interested and qualified US citizens can self-sustain their stay in Korea.
Scholarships for students from Southeast Asian Nations
There are a lot of scholarships available for students from ASEAN nations compared to offers that cater to other nationalities. A majority of them is listed on the ASEAN University Network (AUN) website.
Student loans in Korea
Loans, including student loans, are usually only available to Korean nationals or people with Korean citizenship. Government funded students loans are operated at a low interest rate by the Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF) in the form of direct loan and income contingent loan. At this time, the KOSAF loans are available only for Korean citizens.
- NIIED/KGSP website (Korean/English)
- KGSP website (English)
- Global Korea Scholarship GKS website (English)
- Korea Student Aid Foundation (한국장학재단) website (English)
- Samsung Scholarship Program (Korean/English)
- BrainKorea 21 (English program description)
- IITA Scholarship (For international graduate students enrolled in majors such as IT, computer engineering or electronics.)