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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 20 - 26  > JCP Ishii calls for establishment of state scholarship with no obligation to repay
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2008 February 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

JCP Ishii calls for establishment of state scholarship with no obligation to repay

February 20, 2008
In a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 19, Japanese Communist Party representative Ishii Ikuko urged the government to establish a scholarship program with no obligation to repay.

Ishii pointed out that in 15 out of 30 OECD member countries university tuition is imposed, but that among the 15 countries only Japan, South Korea, and Mexico lack a public scholarship program.

“Except for these three countries, is there any country in which tuition is charged and in which no public scholarship program has been established?” asked Ishii. Education Minister Tokai Kisaburo could not answer this question.

Japan’s tuition is extraordinarily high: about 820,000 yen for national universities and about 1.3 million yen for private universities per student in the first year. However, the government offers no scholarships; only student loans with interest.

An undergraduate student who borrows 100,000 yen a month for four years has to pay back 5.27 million yen in total (22,000 yen a month for 20 years), and a graduate student who borrows the same amount of money a month for nine years has to pay back 11.8 million yen (53,000 yen a month for 20 years).

Ishii quoted a student as saying, “Taking repayment into account, I must give up on going to graduate school.” She also cited the fact that the percentage of those who are in arrears in their repayment of student loans due to unemployment jumped from 6.5 percent in 2001 to 20.3 percent in 2005. Ishii stressed the need to establish a state-run scholarship program that does not require students to pay it back.

Finance Minister Nukaga Fukushiro said, “There should be no students who cannot afford to receive higher education for economic reasons.”

Ishii also proposed that Tokyo University’s tuition waiver program, to which students whose parents earn less than four million yen a year are eligible, should be expanded nationwide.
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