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Free education in South Korea: how to get a full scholarship?

Each year, the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS), formerly known as the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP), allows top international students to pursue higher education in South Korea for free.

The scholarship fully covers the cost of studying for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in English and Korean. The requirements for applicants for a scholarship are almost the same as the entrance requirements of universities. So, it is not that difficult to get it. However, some limitations are important for students to be aware of in advance.

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What does the GKS scholarship cover?

The Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) is prestigious and includes:

The cost of education 

Full coverage of the tuition fees for the selected undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral program of the university participating in the scholarship program;

Flight to Korea and back

Full coverage of the cost of an economy class flight on the shortest route from the student’s home country to Korea and back;

Payment to applicants

A one-time payment of $ 168 upon arrival in Korea;

Monthly scholarship

Monthly stipend of $ 671 (for undergraduate programs) or $ 755 (for graduate and doctoral programs);

Medical insurance

Coverage of $ 17 per month;

The cost of a language course

Covering $ 671 tuition fees per academic quarter;

Payment for proficiency in Korean

One-time payment of $ 84;

Research support

Monthly payment of $ 176 per month (for research programs in the humanities and social sciences) or $ 201 per month (for research programs in the natural and engineering sciences);

Preparation of the thesis

A one-time payment of $ 419 to $ 671 for printing and thesis;

Successful completion of the program

A one-time payment of $ 84 for GKS Scholarship recipients who complete their study program.

Who Can Get the GKS Scholarship?

An international student who is a national of one of the participating countries who wishes to enroll in the study program of one of the Korean universities participating in the scholarship program can apply for the GKS scholarship.

To apply, the following conditions must be met:

  • The student and his/her parents must be citizens of their home country (applications from South Korean citizens and their children are not accepted);
  • A student must be no more than 25 years old for admission to an undergraduate degree;
  • A student must be no more than 40 years old for admission to master’s and doctoral studies;
  • The student must have a high school diploma for admission to the undergraduate program;
  • The student must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree for admission to master’s and doctoral studies;
  • The student must have a GPA above 80% in the last place of study;
  • The student must not have any higher education experience in South Korea (however, a student who has already received a GKS / KGSP scholarship in the past may re-apply for a scholarship to study at the next academic level, for example, master or doctoral studies);
  • The student must have physical and mental health (a scholarship can be issued to a student with a disability, but only if this does not affect his ability to study).

There are also three categories of students who benefit from the distribution of scholarships:

  • Students from disadvantaged and low-income families;
  • Students who are descendants of Koreans but live outside of Korea and do not have South Korean citizenship;
  • Students who are descendants of the Korean War veterans, but who live outside of Korea and do not have South Korean citizenship.

Where and what can you study with the GKS Scholarship?

There is no actual limit to the specializations that can be earned with the GKS Scholarship. However, according to the requirements of the scholarship, the duration of the study program should not exceed 4 years.

It is also worth noting that the recipient of the GKS scholarship must complete a one-year Korean language course prior to entering the university program.

Application Procedure for the GKS Scholarship

Applications for the GKS Scholarship are in all cases made through the South Korean Embassy at the student’s place of residence.

To participate in the competition for the scholarship, the student must submit the following documents to the embassy before the deadline:

  • completed application form;
  • NIIED Pledge Form;
  • motivation letter;
  • 2 letters of recommendation;
  • medical examination certificate;
  • certificate of complete secondary education (for bachelor’s degree);
  • transcript of school grades (for undergraduate);
  • bachelor’s degree (for master’s degree);
  • master’s degree (for doctoral studies);
  • transcript of university grades;
  • other available certificates and diplomas;
  • TOPIK Korean Language Proficiency Exam Certificate (if available);
  • TOEFL, TOEIC, or IELTS Academic English Proficiency Exam Certificate (if available).

The student can obtain the format of documents and their exact list at the nearest embassy of South Korea.

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