고려대학교 기수 총장이 한국대학교육협의회 회장으로 선출되면서 한국의 대학 등록금은 교육의 질에 비해 매우 싸다는 취지의 발언을 했다고 한다. 이는 교육 수요자인 대다수 국민들의 체감과는 동떨어진 것으로 한마디로 특혜를 누리는 한국의 대표적 사립대학의 오만과 자가당착을 보여주는 발언이라고 하지 않을 수 없다.


정말 한국 대학의 등록금이 얼마나 가파르게 올랐는지 <도표1>을 참고로 사립대와 국공립대의 등록금(납입금)이 물가지수에 반영되기 시작한 1975년부터 2009년까지 소비자물가지수 및 대학 유형별 등록금 추이를 살펴보자.

먼저 사립대, 국공립대, 전문대 등록금을 가릴 것 없이 소비자물가지수보다 훨씬 더 가파르게 상승했음을 알 수 있다. 매년 등록금 상승률 추이를 보면, 1970년대 후반부터 80년대 전반까지 사립대 등록금이 매년 10~30% 가량 가파르게 상승했고, 국공립대도 10~20%대의 높은 상승률을 보였다.

이는 70년대 중반부터 시행된 고교 평준화의 여파로 대학 진학자가 늘어나 대학들의 시설 확장이 필요한 데다, 70년대 말의 2차 오일쇼크와 전두환을 비롯한 신군부세력의 군사쿠데타를 계기로 물가 급등과 외환부족 등의 경제위기가 발생함에 따라 대학 등록금도 가파르게 상승했다고 할 수 있다. 이후 80년대 중후반에 물가가 진정됨에 따라 등록금도 한 자리수 상승률를 보였다.

그러나 1990~1996년까지 민주화 정부 출범을 전후로 대학 자율화 붐과 대학 설립이 난무하면서 다시 대학등록금이 급등하는 모습을 보였다. 이렇게 치솟던 대학 등록금은 90년대 후반의 IMF 외환위기를 계기로 상승세가 주춤하다가 2000년부터 6~8% 수준의 상승률을 보였다가 지난해 경기 침체로 1~3%대의 상승률에 그쳤다. 2000년대에는 사립대와 국공립대의 등록금 상승률이 거의 비슷한 양상을 보였다.


<도표1> 대학별 등록금 추이


(
) 한국은행 자료로부터 KSERI 작성


(사립)대학 등록금이 가계의 가처분소득에 비해 상대적으로 얼마나 더 
상승해 왔는지를 살펴보기 위해 가처분소득 증가율에서 사립대학 등록금 상승률을 차감해보자. 90년대 초까지는 한국경제가 고도성장을 하면서 개인가처분 소득도 빠르게 증가해 대학 등록금이 가파르게 올랐음에도 불구하고 가계가 등록금 부담을 어느 정도 흡수할 수 있었던 것으로 추정된다. 하지만 90년대 초반 이후부터는 개인가처분소득 증가율이 크게 둔화되는 반면 대학 등록금은 상대적으로 높은 상승률을 유지하여 가계들이 대학 등록금을 점차 감당하기 힘들어지고 있음을 보여주고 있다.

이런 지경에 이르렀는데도 대학 교육의 질에 비해 등록금이 싸다는 이기수 총장은 딴 세상에 살고 있는 모양이다. 물론 대학 교육의 질에 비해 등록금이 싼지는 좀더 따져봐야 하겠지만, 사실 이 부분에 대해서는 대학 교육의 수요자인 대부분의 학생과 학부모가 알고 있다. 정말 한국 대학의 질이 우수하다면 왜 많은 대학생들이 외국 유학을 가고 있겠는가. (이 부분에 대해서는 조만간 별도의 글로 다루도록 하겠다.)

이상에서 본 것처럼 지난 수십 년간 한국의 대학 등록금 상승률은 국내 물가나 가처분소득 상승률보다 훨씬 더 빠르게 올랐다. 또 미국 사립대학의 등록금 상승률과 비교해 매년 평균 3~5% 정도 상승률이 더 높을 정도로 급격히 상승했다. 또 지역별로는 서울 및 수도권 대학, 전공별로는 의대의 등록금이 상대적으로 더 가파르게 상승한 것으로 나타난다. 이로 인해 가계가 자녀들의 대학 등록금을 마련하기 위해 부업을 하거나 빚을 내야 할 정도로 이미 큰 경제적 부담을 안고 있다. 이런 가운데 한국은 고등교육의 민간부담, 즉 가계부담 비율이 OECD 국가 가운데 가장 높다. 이런 상태에서 한국의 대학 등록금은 매년 가파르게 상승하고 있어 한국의 가계는 다른 나라에 비해 자녀들의 대학 학비부담이 갈수록 커지고 있다고 할 수 있다.

이처럼 한국 대학의 등록금은 대부분의 일반 가계에 큰 경제적 부담이 되고 있는 것이 사실이다. 학벌 서열구조 속에 안주하면서 '경쟁의 무풍지대'에서 희희낙락하는 대학 총장들만 모를 뿐이다.  



정부와 언론이 왜곡하는 경제 정보를 꿰뚫어보고 건전한 민주주의 시장경제 건설을 위한 좀더 의미 있는 토론과 참여를 원하시는 분들은 김광수경제연구소포럼(http://cafe.daum.net/kseriforum)을 방문해주십시오.


 

by 선대인 2010. 2. 18. 10:21
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