The naming and shaming of 43 poorly managed universities by the Education Ministry on Monday has spawned confusion and concern among universities, with some decrying the label or expressing worries about next year's freshmen recruitment.
Several major universities in operation for more than 50 years were placed on the roster, causing shocks for their faculty members and students.
Officials of Wonkwang University, based on Won Buddhism, cried foul regarding the inquiry criteria: "We have a high employment rate for graduates in dental and oriental medicine school, but it was excluded in the evaluation of the employment standard in the inquiry."
Sangmyung University, located in northern Seoul, also questioned the fairness of the inquiry process, saying it has never been shown to have financial problems nor received government penalties before.
Kwandong University expressed similar complaints.
"The whole school is shocked and confused," said one official. The university is one of major four-year universities in Gangwon Province.
Gyungnam University expressed concerns about freshmen recruitment as the early admission process is underway. It said the result was not thought through properly when authorities announced the list.
Some provincial schools argued that they were placed at a disadvantage as government policies are more favorable to schools in metropolitan areas.
"In light of some policies such as undergraduate transfer and supernumerary student recruitment, schools in provincial areas are at disadvantage to schools in metropolitan area," said an official from Gyeongju University. "It's an unfavorable result for us."
The schools have started convening faculty meetings to come up with measures to address Monday's announcement.
Mokwon University called an emergency meeting presided over by its president right after the announcement.
Dong-u College and Kyung Dong University said they will announce their official position after analyzing inquiry results.
The Education Ministry selected the bottom-ranked 43 universities after two months of inquiry from July in an effort to weed out poorly managed schools to address the problem of rising tuition.
Of them, 17 universities will face significant limits on state-funded student loans and 26 will have their government subsidies cut.