Govt to up financial aid for students abroad due to weak yen

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry

The government will compensate some students studying abroad who are struggling financially due to the rapid deterioration of the yen, it has been learned.

Students studying abroad and receiving financial aid from the government will be compensated for an increase in the value of the local currency.

About 2,100 such students will be eligible to receive compensation, and the amount will correspond to the increased value of the local currency.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry earmarked ¥400 million in the second supplementary budget for this fiscal year for the payments.

The financial aid is provided in yen, making it vulnerable to foreign currency fluctuations.

For example, the U.S. dollar at one point rose nearly 30% against the yen compared to last year.

According to the ministry, the yen’s depreciation has led to increased tuition fees and living expenses for students studying abroad, prompting many to point out the increased difficulties in making ends meet.

To address the situation, the government has decided to cover part of the costs necessary for them to continue their studies. Compensation will be disbursed via the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

Eligible students are those studying in countries where the value of the local currency has risen 15% or more against the yen since last year.

Students in one year and shorter courses receive financial aid ranging from ¥60,000 to ¥100,000 every month, and those enrolled in courses for such programs as undergraduate and graduate studies receive financial aid of up to ¥2.5 million per year for tuition fees.

Those payments will be raised to match the increase in the value of the local currency.

The maximum annual compensation amount will be ¥670,000 for a student who is enrolled in a regular course at a university in the United States and annually receives financial aid of ¥2.5 million for tuition fees.

According to a survey conducted in September by the JASSO on students studying abroad, one in the United States said minimum monthly living expenses rose to ¥300,000, and another in Britain said tuition exceeds ¥2.5 million due to inflation.