Korean Government Scholarship (KGSP) Guidelines

The Korean government offers an amazing opportunity for young individuals that want to study in South Korea. The National Institute of International Education (NIIED), a executive agency under the Ministry of Education, offers oversea students a full-tuition scholarship, monthly living allowance, and other monetary benefits.

This scholarship aims to attract more foreigners to pursue their degree in Korea. Therefore, every year hundreds of people are invited for their bachelor, master, or PhD studies. The actual number varies each year, and for the latest term the number of  accepted bachelor students was 79, and 670 for master + PhD students combined.

So what are the benefits exactly?

The Korean government gives a huge financial support, so that it is possible to live and study in South Korea without any additional financial support. The benefits vary slightly from undergraduate and graduate students. I copied the information from the latest guidelines (2017), but the benefits might also change from year to year.

Undergraduate Scholarship Benefits:

  • Airplane Ticket or Airfare: The scholarship covers an economy class flight with the shortest route between a scholar’s country and Korea. A one-way ticket to Korea will be offered to each scholar at the beginning of the scholarship program; another one-way ticket from Korea will be offered for those who complete their studies under the scholarship program.
  • Monthly Stipend: 800,000 KRW per month
  • Tuition: The tuition fee up to 5 million KRW is covered by NIIED. In case the tuition is higher than 5 million KRW, the exceeding amount is covered by the host university. The university entrance fee is covered by the host university.
  • Settlement Allowance: 200,000 KRW upon arrival
  • Scholarship Completion Grants: 100,000 KRW upon completion of studies
  • Korean Language Training: The full cost for the 1 year is covered by NIIED and the language institution.
  • Medical Insurance: Scholars are covered by health insurance for major accidents and illnesses during their scholarship period.
  • Korean Proficiency Grants: Scholars with level 5 or 6 on TOPIK will receive 100,000 KRW won per month during the degree program.

 

Graduate Scholarship Benefits:

  • Airfare
    – Entry to Korea: an economy class flight ticket to Korea
    – Return flight: an economy class flight ticket from Korea to KGSP scholar’s home country
    – The airfare for entry will NOT be provided to scholars who have resided in Korea from the time of applying and on.
    – The return flight is available only for the KGSP scholars who successfully complete their degree coursework.
    – The return flight is NOT offered for those who withdraw from the scholarship.
    – Any fees incurred in the domestic travel within a KGSP scholar’s home country are NOT covered.
    – International travel insurance is NOT covered.
    – The flight tickets for the Chinese and Czech KGSP scholars will be prepared and provided by the Chinese and the Czech governments, according to the agreements with the Korean government.
  • Settlement Allowance: 200,000 KRW
  • Monthly Allowance
    – Degree Program (Master’s or Doctoral): 900,000 KRW
    – Research Program: 1,500,000 KRW
  • Research Allowance
    – Liberal Arts and Social Science Degrees: 210,000 KRW per semester
    – Science, Technology and Engineering Degrees: 240,000 KRW per semeste
  • Language Training Fees: Fully covered
  • Degree Tuition: Fully covered
    – Tuition up to 5 million KRW is covered by NIIED, and the amount that exceeds 5 million is covered by the host university.
    – The KGSP scholars are waived from the admission fees of the universities.
  • Dissertation Printing Fee Reimbursement
    – The actual cost of printing as written on the receipt will be reimbursed.
    – The maximum amount is 500,000 KRW for degrees in Liberal Arts and Social Science and 800,000 KRW for degrees in Science, Technology and Engineering.
  • Medical Insurance: 20,000 KRW per month
  • Korean Proficiency Grants: 100,000 KRW per month
    – This special funding is available for KGSP scholars with levels 5 and 6 on TOPIK.
  • Scholarship Completion Grants: 100,000 KRW
    – It is offered for the KGSP scholars who return to their home countries after completing their degree coursework under the scholarship.
    – It is not offered for the KGSP scholars who decide to stay in Korea after the completion of their degree coursework.

 

Sounds awesome, so how can I apply?

Actually two ways do exist:
1. You apply via the Korean embassy in your home country and select 3 universities (3 steps)
2. You apply via your selected university (2 steps)

Two ways? Yes, but you are allowed to only chose one of them! I will go into more detail.

1. When you prepare for your application, you have to decide on three universities among the ones participating in KGSP. You need to send all your documents; and it is a lot since you have to make copies, to the Korean embassy in your home country. The embassy will select a number of applications and forward their documents to all three universities he or she had chosen. In the next step, the selected universities have to decide if they are going to accept your application are not. However, you only need to be accepted by one university to make it to the next round. The university/universities that accepted your application will forward your documents to NIIED. In the last step the government then will decide on your scholarship.

2. Sending your application directly to the university you want to study at let you skip step 1 (Korean embassy). Your chosen university will decide if they are going to accept you or not. If they do, they will send your application to NIIED. If not, this means game over. NIIED then decides if they are going to grant your scholarship.

As you might guess, lots of students want to have this scholarship. The competition is huge. To give a rather fair distribution of scholars from different countries, NIIED works with quotas. This means that only a certain amount of students from a country can receive the scholarship. The quota for embassy and direct applications differ, plus some countries also have a quota for adoptees. I suggest you better consider the quotas as well, when you decide on your way of application.

 

To help you tackle this (complex) process, NIIED publishes guidelines every year. As a Korean Government Scholarship (KGSP) graduate scholar myself I impatiently waited for the day they were published. Normally, the guidelines for undergraduate students can be found in September, and for graduate students in February.

On the StudyinKorea website you will see a info box on the right side. Under “Notice” you will find the guidelines, as well as later on the announcement of accepted scholars.

So if you are really interested in applying for KGSP I recommend to look into old guidelines and already start preparing the documents. Some papers might take some time until you receive them, so it is better the start early.

I will write more about the Korean Government Scholarship in later blog posts.

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