Japan Removes Tuition Cap for International Students Attending National Universities; Govt Hopes Increased Revenue Will Assist Students

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

The government removed the cap on tuition fees for international students attending national universities following a revision made by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to the relevant ministerial ordinance.

The move on Monday makes it possible to raise tuition for international students, which has been equal to that for Japanese students.

Under the ordinance, standard tuition at national universities is set at ¥535,800 per year, and each university can increase it by up to 20% to ¥642,960.

Since overseas students often require special consideration, it is said to be common in other countries to set tuition higher for them than for domestic students.

Therefore, the ministry has made it possible to raise tuition fees for international students on the assumption that each university will use the increased revenue to support them. This includes offering students supplementary Japanese language courses, strengthened support for writing their thesis and an improved counseling system.

Tuition for overseas students in the United States is about 1.5 times higher than that for U.S. nationals, and they are about twice as high in Australia and Canada, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In April last year, the government’s Council for the Creation of Future Education set a goal of accepting 400,000 international students annually by 2033 and proposed a more flexible tuition system to improve the quality of support for such students.