South Korea has recently become a popular option among international students. This country is the best combination of modern cities, cutting-edge technology, a traditional cultural heritage, and hard-working people. And thus, its society takes education very seriously. South Korean universities have outstanding education quality, impressive research centers, up-to-date facilities, and a wide variety of colleges. It’s evident that they aim to have a more diverse student body to learn from all around the world because they have programs that are completely taught in English and great scholarships. So, do you want to study in Korea for Free? If so, let’s learn how to study in Korea for free.
We know that studying abroad can be expensive, and Korean universities also know it! Besides tuition, an international student has to budget application fees, English proficiency tests, living expenses, airplane tickets, visa fees, and many more! However, if you can’t afford your studies at any Korean university, but you’ve always dreamed to graduate in this Asian country, the government and many universities offer great scholarships. Some of them even cover the cost of the flights, so you won’t have to worry about anything!
Take a look at the best Korean university scholarships, the application process and how to apply for them.
3 Components of Studying in Korea for Free
1. What do I need to apply for a Korean scholarship?
The best way to study for free in Korea is to get a scholarship. The requirements to apply for a Korean scholarship depend on the university and the type of scholarship. However, there are some documents that you’ll probably need to submit no matter what scholarship you choose. But before we jump into that, let’s explain the two types of scholarships that are available.
University scholarships in South Korea may be given by the government or by universities. They can be given before applying to university or after admissions. In the first place, they’ll choose candidates based on their high school grades, standardized test scores, and merits and awards. In the second place, they’ll choose candidates based on the student’s performance at university.
So, if you are applying for a scholarship given before admissions, you’ll probably have to submit the following documents:
- The profile of your high school, which may include information like its description, any brochure published, its website, the GPA rate system used, its curricula, the statistics of college acceptance, etc.
- Any standardized official test scores. This may include tests like SAT, ACT, High School leaving exams, University Entrance exam results, or any other standardized official test you may have done in your country.
- Official English Proficiency Test certification, such as IELTS or TOEFL. You may be exempted from this so read the guides carefully.
- Honors and awards. These are usually optional, but they may help you.
- Statement of Financial Resources, or any other document that shows your financial status.
- Your ID or Passport. These scholarships are exclusively for international students, and people with a double nationality (Korean and another one) are usually not included, so they may also require your parent’s ID. This way they can verify your nationality.
Now that you know if you meet any of the criteria above, let’s see the application process and the best options so that you can study in Korea for free.
2. How can I apply for a Korean University Scholarship?
As we mentioned above, there are two types of scholarships. The one given by the government is called Korean Government Scholarship. Universities have their own offer of scholarships.
In case you want to apply for the Korean Government Scholarship, there are two ways of doing it: the embassy track and the university track. Once the announcement is made, you’ll have to read the information published on the website and ask for more details via email. Prepare your documents and send the requirements to a Korean embassy in your country (embassy track) or to the university you’re applying to (university track).
Embassies and universities will make the first selection and send it to the Korean Institute in charge, which will make the last selection. Lastly, they’ll announce the selected candidates.
In case you chose the embassy track, you’ll have to be accepted by a university. In this case, you’ll have to apply to the university you prefer, the only difference is that the embassy will do the scholarship selection. They are two different processes.
If you are applying to the scholarship of a university, read the guides carefully and don’t hesitate to contact the university if you have any questions. Remember to check:
- Which documents need apostille and notarization, which must be originals and/or copies, and if they must be submitted online or via mail.
- If the dates of the scholarship application and university application are different.
- If your English language proficiency certification isn’t more than two years old.
- If you can have any other scholarship or financial aid. Some universities don’t allow students to have more than one.
3. The Best Korean University Scholarships that You Should Apply to Study in Korea for Free
The Korean Government Scholarship is offered to both undergraduate and graduate international students. It’s administered by the National Institute for International Education (NIIED), which is part of the Ministry of Education. This scholarship is one of the best ones because is fully funded.
Besides tuition, this scholarship includes the flight tickets, a settlement allowance, a monthly allowance, medical insurance, Korean proficiency grants (if applicable), and the language training fee. For graduates, it also includes a monthly research allowance and a reimbursement of the cost of printing their dissertation. Visit Korean Government Scholarship Page to learn more details and see if you’re eligible.
Last year, the Seoul National University (SNU) occupied the second place of Korea’s university ranking. It also ranked within the top 50 universities in the world. With three campuses, 16 colleges, and almost 30,000 students, this university offers everything that an international student may need.
You can use the Korean Government Scholarship to study at SNU, but they also have their own offer of scholarships. Some of the scholarships are made for specific citizenships, like people from developing countries or Asia, and may include tuition, a monthly stipend, living expenses and/or housing fees. Others are made for all the international students but only include some of the aspects mentioned before, or may include additional ones, like flight tickets. Check the SNU Scholarship Page to see if you’re eligible and determine which one suits you best.
KAIST currently ranks as the best university in South Korea, and it is placed within the top 50 universities in the world. KAIST is specialized in science and engineering, and it’s known for its research approach. It has two campuses, 29 dormitories, and a wide variety of sports and artistic activities.
Although it’s hard to believe, every student that is admitted in KAIST receives a scholarship! This is a reason why students in KAIST can study in Korea for free and why the application process for enrolling in the university and getting a scholarship is the same. It includes tuition, a monthly allowance, and health insurance. However, you cannot have any other scholarship, and you must maintain good grades. Check KAIST Scholarship Page for more information!
We hope that this guide on how to study in Korea for free was useful. If you’d like to know more about studying in Korea, explore the Korea Scholarships Page!