The education ministry has selected 43 private universities that will have their state subsidies partly cut or denied next year as part of a government drive to weed out poorly managed schools, reports South Korea's news agency Yonhap.
The ministry said on Monday it chose the universities in consultation with advisory bodies based on the results of a university evaluation that used such criteria as the employment rate of graduates, the yearly enrollment rate and the number of full-time instructors.
Every year, the government spends a total of 1.59 trillion won (US$1.48 billion) in state subsidies to universities and colleges across the nation to help promote their research and development activities.
The education reform drive comes after calls mounted for restructuring of problem-ridden higher-learning institutions before injecting state funds to curb soaring tuitions.
The issue has become a top policy priority for political parties ahead of next year's major elections.
Officials have said that an equal provision of funds to all schools would be a waste of taxpayer money and could end up as a lifeline for uncompetitive colleges.
President Lee Myung-bak has also called for college restructuring as a condition for providing government money to universities.
In South Korea, 80 per cent of higher education institutions are operated by private foundations that rely heavily on tuition for revenue.