overseas study-spending

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans have spent an annual average of more than US$4 billion on overseas study since 2006, far exceeding the amount of money foreigners spend on education programs here, central bank data showed Sunday.

According to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK), South Koreans' spending on overseas education programs came to $4.36 billion last year, a slight decrease from $4.39 billion a year earlier.

Remittances for overseas study had hovered around the $4 billion mark since 2006, except 2009 when the amount reached $3.99 billion in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The figure dwarfs the amount of money foreigners fork out to study in South Korea.

Foreigners spent a mere $54.60 million on study in South Korea last year, much less than the $128.30 million recorded a year earlier, according to the data.

Foreigners' expenditures for eduction programs here amounted to $28 million in 2006, $44.90 million in 2007, $54.40 million in 2008, $36.30 million in 2009 and $37.40 million in 2010.

South Korea has thus chalked up a cumulative deficit of $30.88 billion in the education balance of payments over the past seven years, averaging more than $4.4 billion a year, according to the BOK data.

Analysts predicted South Koreans' spending on overseas study is unlikely to increase further in the coming years, given a protracted economic slump and an improvement in the country's education system.

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