The payment per hour for student service scholarships in KAIST has been increased, following the recent minimum wage increase of roughly 10.9% from 7,530 KRW in 2018 to 8,350 KRW, which came into effect from January 1.
There are four classifications for the student service scholarships: the national education or labor program, the normal work-study program, the special work-study program, and the work-study program for livelihood support. The national education or labor program had a 2,000 KRW raise from the previous 8,000 KRW hourly rate to 10,000 KRW. The normal work-study program, meanwhile, had a 1,000 KRW increase from the same minimum of 8,000 KRW to 9,000 KRW. The special work-study program, which had a slightly higher previous per hour rate of 10,000 KRW, similarly received a 1,000 KRW increase to 11,000 KRW. Lastly, the work-study program for livelihood support received a 20,000 KRW increase from 300,000 KRW to 320,000 KRW per month.
The payment rates vary proportionally to the difficulty of the labor, as evident in the differences among the scholarship types. Moreover, most of the scholarship types are solely supported financially by KAIST, except the national education or labor program, which is collaboratively funded by KAIST and the Korea Student Aid Foundation. As such, even with initially equal unit prices, the national education or labor program had a higher wage increase than that of the normal work-study program. Similarly, the mandatory minimum of 20 hours of work per month for the work-study program for livelihood support corresponds to the 20,000 KRW increase in monthly pay.
The Korean minimum wage per hour has been steadily climbing since 2010. During this period, the value has increased from 4,110 KRW in 2010 to 8,350 KRW in 2019. However, during the same period of time, the unit prices of student service scholarships in KAIST have remained unchanged. The KAIST Emergency Response Committee, Rise, has acknowledged the resulting gap between the minimum wage and on-campus hourly rates and reported that it has consistently been working to take necessary actions to address it.
Meanwhile, some students have reported receiving the student service scholarship without the announced increase prior to the beginning of the semester. In response, Rise has assured that the mispayment was a minor mistake and that affected individuals were well compensated with their respective pay.