Four Korean colleges will be prohibited from receiving new foreign students for a year, the government said Sunday.
The Education Ministry said the student or language study visa would not be issued for foreign students seeking to attend Hansei University, Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology, Jeonbuk Science College and Taegu Science University. Students already attending the institutes and those coming to the cited schools through a student exchange programme, however, will be able to receive a visa.
The measure is part of the ministry's International Education Quality Assurance System that evaluates local tertiary education institutes' capacity to host international students.
"The visa restriction will last for a year, starting in the second semester of 2015. We would advise the cited schools to focus on managing the foreign students they have, rather than to trying to attract new foreign students," said a ministry official.
The key factors in the evaluation include the ratio of foreign students who are illegal residents, the number of foreign students who dropped out before receiving a degree and the school's financial stability.
"Since the IEQAS was introduced in 2011, Korea has seen a consistent decrease in the number of foreign students illegally residing in Korea. We were able to improve the general image of studying in Korea," the official said.
According to the Justice Ministry, the number of international students who stayed in Korea illegally slid from 7,546 in 2013 to 6,779 in 2014.
The IEQAS committee consists of officials from the education and justice ministries along with civilian members. In addition to penalizing colleges for poor management of foreign students, they accredit institutes that excel in the area.
It newly certified 37 universities and colleges in 2014, bringing the total number of approved institutes to 83. The accreditation is valid for three years.
These institutes will be subject to benefits like more lenient standards by authorities issuing student visas, and priority in state-run projects or scholarship programs like the Global Korea Scholarship.