The government is currently finalizing details of a student financial aid system scheduled for implementation in FY 2017. The system provides 30,000 yen monthly to college students from financially strained households who meet a certain level of academic requirements.
Earlier this month, a project team organized in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) determined that the amount of financial aid should be at least 30,000 yen per month. Based on this determination, relevant agencies including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) started working on a detailed plan.
Projected beneficiaries of the system are college-bound children from households that receive social security benefits and those from children’s homes. The actual level of academic achievement required of candidates is still under debate. However, even those who do not meet the requirement can be eligible with a recommendation letter from their high school.
The ministry will discuss whether or not to offer additional aid to students who attend private colleges, which typically charge higher tuition.
The LDP is considering a funding scheme that involves reducing special tax credits for households with dependents aged 19 to 22.
The current national financial aid system run by the Japan Student Services Organization has two programs, both of which require students to pay back the aid. More than a few students give up a college education because of financial difficulties. If they go to college, many have a hard time trying to repay the aid later. Aiming to ease the situation, the government stipulated that it will study a way to establish a financial aid system without payback obligation when it adopted the “plan for dynamic engagement of all citizens” in June. Since then, MEXT has conducted studies on feasible aid amounts and candidate qualifications.