The overall picture of the government’s draft of a scholarship program that does not require repayment has been announced. A monthly stipend of 20,000 yen, 30,000 yen, or 40,000 yen will be granted to 20,000 students per grade from low-income households exempted from the residential tax. The amount will be determined based on such factors as whether they go to a private or a public university. Plans are also underway to provide those from orphanages with around 240,000 yen across the board in the name of college enrollment fees. Recipients of the stipends will be selected based on high school recommendations. The aid will be made available to those who failed in entrance exams for the first time but managed to enter university on their second or third try.
The scholarship program will be fully introduced from fiscal 2018, but a monthly stipend of 40,000 yen will be provided to those who board and go to private universities starting from fiscal 2017 to extend aid to students in dire financial straits ahead of schedule. The government estimates that the program will require slightly over 20 billion yen in budget in the end. It plans to lay aside money from revenue sources every year so [unspent funds] will be carried over to the following year for fresh use. It will secure several billions of yen in fiscal 2017.
From fiscal 2018 and onward, those who “board and attend public universities” and “attend private universities and commute from home” will receive a monthly stipend of 30,000 yen. Those who “commute to public universities from home” will be granted 20,000 yen a month as they shoulder a lighter burden than those in the aforementioned category. Those who “board and attend private universities” will be given the highest amount of 40,000 yen a month because they shoulder the heaviest financial burden among the three groups. The amount will not vary based on whether they attend universities or vocational schools or whether they major in arts or sciences. But those who attend national universities and receive a tuition allowance will not qualify for the full scholarship. Universities will be required to check the academic achievements of stipend recipients every academic year, and those who did extremely poorly in academic subjects will be required to pay back the money.
The scholarship program will be extended to 20,000 students. At least one scholarship seat will be allocated to each of about 5,000 high schools nationwide. Recipients will be selected through school recommendations. Schools recommend students who meet either of such criteria as high academic achievement or performance in extracurricular activities based on national guidelines. High schools that will be given multiple scholarship seats for recommendations will be determined by taking into consideration the number of students who receive an interest-free scholarship grant.
From households exempted from the residential tax there are an estimated 61,000 children in each grade who continue studies at higher educational institutes. Meanwhile, the amount of financial aid provided in the U.S. and Europe comes to around 500,000 yen to 600,000 yen per year. Some people point out that if the present Japanese system is not changed, it may not be able to extend support to all those who need it or provide sufficient aid.