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The number of college students in South Korea is halved, and half of the universities may “disappear” within 25 years

According to reports, the South Korean government predicts that by 2040, the number of college students in South Korea will drop to 1.18 million, only half of what it was in 2020. In this regard, South Korea will introduce a series of policies to encourage young people to marry and give birth, including a one-time maternity subsidy of 2 million won (about 10,000 yuan) and extension of paid parental leave .

South Korea could lose 50 percent of its universities within 25 years due to a severe population recession, according to a report by Seoul National University and the Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs, which took a long-term outlook for short-term forecasts for higher education institutions .

Dong-Kyu Lee, a professor of disaster management at Dong-A University in South Korea, said it is expected that in 25 years, only 190 of the 385 existing universities will exist. Outside Seoul, only 44 percent of universities are expected to remain open, compared with 80 percent in the capital. Nearly all of these institutions are 100 percent dependent on college tuition and are highly vulnerable to declining enrollment, he added .

Many universities, especially regional ones, will inevitably close, said Stuart Gietel-Basten, a professor of social sciences and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and an expert on Asian demography. He likens the process to the industrial decline of formerly prosperous towns: “It’s like Detroit’s auto factories, which started from nothing and disappeared.”

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