Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. is the only news agency providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan

Japan's university tuition highest in the world

In Japan, national universities charge each freshman yearly a tuition of 820,000 yen, and private universities charge 1,310,000 yen on average. Since 1970, the amount of payment has increased 51 times in the case of national universities and 5.7 times in the case of private universities.

Today, 70 percent of Japanese students go to private universities. In the case of a private university student living alone in the Tokyo area, the amount of money that can be spent for his/her living expense (i.e. the amount of money he/she receives from parents minus rent) has decreased in ten years from 68,200 yen a month to 42,700 yen, a record low since the survey began in 1986. The recent decline in parents' incomes contributes to the increasing hardship of these students.

Internationally, fifteen out of 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) do not charge tuition. France charges only an enrollment record fee of 19,000 yen. Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark have established higher education free of charge even without charging an enrollment fee.

What's more, in order to cover the living cost of students, these countries provide them with scholarships that need not be paid back. They can devote themselves to their academic studies without worrying about their living expenses.

In contrast, Japanese students must pay back the so-called scholarships (student loans in effect), more than half of which charge interest.

In the United States, 70 percent of students go to relatively inexpensive state universities rather than expensive private ones. The U.S. has more than 10 times as much resources for scholarships as Japan does, making it possible for 70 percent of U.S. students to receive some form of scholarship. U.S. families with children going to colleges or universities receive tax breaks of several hundred thousand yen a year.

A survey conducted by the Washington D.C.- and Toronto-based Education Policy Institute shows that Japanese students bear the heaviest burdens among 15 countries. Tuition fees in Japan are the most expensive in the world.
- Akahata, September 27, 2006

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.