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This article examines the process of democratization in South Korea as it affects the national university system. The authors discuss the traditionally tight control the central government wields over the university system, primarily by controlling funds and student enrollment. They examine the growing demand for autonomy, as reflected in the recent selections of several national university presidents, and the relationship between greater university autonomy and increased local government authority. The authors conclude that an irreversible trend has begun toward democratization and increased autonomy among South Korea's national universities.