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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 February 28 - March 5  > Miyamoto: Study-now-pay-later program nothing to do with tuition-free higher education
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2024 February 28 - March 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Miyamoto: Study-now-pay-later program nothing to do with tuition-free higher education

March 3, 2024

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Miyamoto Toru at a House of Representatives committee meeting on March 2 pointed out that a Kishida government-introduced study-now-pay-later program may adversely affect the existing tuition exemption systems and the current movement toward tuition-free education. He said that what the government should do is to realize free education at all levels, including university.

The new program is modeled after Australia’s student loan system known as the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) under which students studying at higher education providers pay off their tuition after their graduation. Like the HECS, Japan’s program allows students to defer paying tuition fees until after graduation and requires them to make repayments depending on their income level.

At the Lower House Budget Committee meeting, Miyamoto pointed out that Australia has no tuition exemption system for students from low-income households, and grilled Prime Minister Kishida about the Japanese version of the HECS by saying that this program will work to bring about negative impacts on the current tuition exemption systems rather than improving them.

PM Kishida only said that the government will make efforts to achieve a good balance between the newly-introduced student loan system and the tuition exemption systems.

Miyamoto criticized the introduction of the Japanese-style HECS for not contributing to the gradual elimination of tuitions for higher education as called for by the International Covenants on Human Rights.

Miyamoto pointed out that Japan’s public spending on tertiary education as a percentage of GDP is less than half of the OCED average while the private burden for higher education doubles the OECD average. He demanded that the government make higher education free for all students.
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