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MEXT Scholarship--monthly stipend has been reduced

akaitsume1

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@ooilingfan: Wow. Ok, I see where you're coming from. Granted, the article doesn't say that our program will face cuts, but since universities and many grants are getting cut, I can se why people are worried. All we can do is hope that their diplomacy will keep foreign student funding safe. :-/

By the way, I have access to nature, so if people want me to copy/paste the articles in question in a blog here or something, just let me know.

Edit: Articles are now posted in my blog as attachments.
 
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Ajay

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Can anyone, Menrei or someone else tell us when (as in which month) do these decisions get communicated.

Like in which month was the previous decision was communicated to you?

Also when you got the final confirmation of your scholarship, was the contents information was communicated to you at that time?

I want to know when were you able to confirm about your scholarship amount after getting qualified, was it before reaching japan or after.
 
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jim84

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What's all this about a no part time job rule?
As far as I know, it is discouraged, but not strictly forbidden. I haven't seen it written anywhere. There is a limit to how many hours a week a person on a student visa may work, but that's a rule dealing with immigration and not the scholarship. All you have to do is go to your school's administration and apply for a work permit. You fill out the paper, turn it in to your school, and a while later they'll get you a permit, basically no questions asked.

I'm not sure about other Uni but for Osaka University, try apply to the administration, fat chance they will ever approve it. And i INDEED read a clause in the administration centre or somewhere "by principle, MEXT scholarship recipients are not allowed to work part time, you should dedicate your time to your research".

A monthly stipend of 82,000yen is possible. The students exchange program are paying 82,000yen per month right now. And the students are alive without ramen everyday. I'm not saying i'm wishing for that, but they are able to justify themselves that it's possible to survive on that amount. Of course staying in private housing would be impossible and they would have to guarantee us Uni dorms.

Anyway, another 20,000yen cut would be bad enough, let alone 50%. Whatever it is, let's wait for the official announcement.
 

jim84

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@ dblbstrd: On the typical college student visa, we are not allowed to work. If our visa status changes at all, which might include trying to change it enough to work, MEXT will cut our scholarships.

http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/travel_and_visa/visa/faq.htm#b1b (Check statuses not permitting work)

"Scholarship will be cancelled for a grantee if: 窶。D his/her resident status of ツ“College Studentツ” as provided for in Paragraph 1-4 of Appendix to the Immigration Control and
Refugee Recognition Act changes to any other status;"

I'm not sure about work permits, since I know a few people who've done it before, but it seems risky.

A part time job won't change your "college student" status.
The thing is, it is almost impossible to obtain a permit from your supervisor/university as long as you're under MEXT scholarship.
 

akaitsume1

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A part time job won't change your "college student" status.
The thing is, it is almost impossible to obtain a permit from your supervisor/university as long as you're under MEXT scholarship.

Ah, ok. I was wondering. Thanks.
 

jim84

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@ooilingfan: Wow. Ok, I see where you're coming from. Granted, the article doesn't say that our program will face cuts, but since universities and many grants are getting cut, I can se why people are worried. All we can do is hope that their diplomacy will keep foreign student funding safe. :-/

By the way, I have access to nature, so if people want me to copy/paste the articles in question in a blog here or something, just let me know.

Edit: Articles are now posted in my blog as attachments.

They didn't spell it clearly, but imagine a 7trillion cut in R&D, I don't think they will spare the MEXT research student program untouched. Afterall, this program is costing them billions every year, and if they are sacrificing Japan's advancement in R&D, what will stop them from cutting stipend of sponsorships..... (moreover, they have been cutting each year, the question is only "how much this time")

Anyway, it's our luck if they decide to tighten the belt for these few upcoming years. Reducing sponsorships and research funding for a couple of years just might save them a lot of money at times of turbulence. Afterall, it is their tax payers' money, they will decide what's good for their people, not us. We can only pray for a mutually beneficial solution (or at least mutually harmless).
 

arap

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They didn't spell it clearly, but imagine a 7trillion cut in R&D, I don't think they will spare the MEXT research student program untouched. Afterall, this program is costing them billions every year, and if they are sacrificing Japan's advancement in R&D, what will stop them from cutting stipend of sponsorships..... (moreover, they have been cutting each year, the question is only "how much this time")
Anyway, it's our luck if they decide to tighten the belt for these few upcoming years. Reducing sponsorships and research funding for a couple of years just might save them a lot of money at times of turbulence. Afterall, it is their tax payers' money, they will decide what's good for their people, not us. We can only pray for a mutually beneficial solution (or at least mutually harmless).

Bummer...Here I thought 2010 will be a good year economically

Well..I still have to be concerned about my acceptance so I will keep thinking positive for this issue now
 

neonfish

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A monthly stipend of 82,000yen is possible. The students exchange program are paying 82,000yen per month right now. And the students are alive without ramen everyday. I'm not saying i'm wishing for that, but they are able to justify themselves that it's possible to survive on that amount. Of course staying in private housing would be impossible and they would have to guarantee us Uni dorms.
Obviously there are not nearly enough uni dorms for each MEXT grantee, so no point saying that 82,000 yen is enough. You might as well argue that it is perfectly possible to survive without any scholarship because many privately financed students do so.
 

menrui

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Can anyone, Menrei or someone else tell us when (as in which month) do these decisions get communicated.

i think the fiscal year starts in April... so any changes they make occurs starting from april.
in my case, other than reading it from the application guidelines... they never confirmed to me how much i will be receiving. i just assumed it would be the same amount as in the guideline, which it wasnt. i came in during the year they dropped it about 20,000yen, which is this year.


there is something else i wanted to point out. this is a "scholarship." scholarships do not always mean "full ride." they never indicated that the monbusho scholarship was intended to be a full ride scholarship. people just assumed so because the scholarship is so large.
 

Ajay

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i think the fiscal year starts in April... so any changes they make occurs starting from april.
in my case, other than reading it from the application guidelines... they never confirmed to me how much i will be receiving. i just assumed it would be the same amount as in the guideline, which it wasnt. i came in during the year they dropped it about 20,000yen, which is this year.
there is something else i wanted to point out. this is a "scholarship." scholarships do not always mean "full ride." they never indicated that the monbusho scholarship was intended to be a full ride scholarship. people just assumed so because the scholarship is so large.

I am sorry I dont exactly get your expression of "full ride". I am applying for Phd, where I cannt exactly work in a part-time job... so if you meant by "full ride" or rather "half ride" that I need to earn my expenses, I doubt that will happen. I am most certain that my supervisor will simply not allow that. And the only information we get is in april... this is a bit troublesome.

Anyways thanks!
 

menrui

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haha, now that i think about it, i guess it would be odd if they were to pay for your tuition and plane tickets, but then leave you stranded with out any living money >< . i might have to take back my previous post.

Ajay,
im not sure about other countries, but in the US it is common to take loans and such. so you can go to school and study with out having to work, then pay back the debt later(recession!?) after you have completed your course.

ok, forget about what i just wrote. what i was trying to say is, scholarships are not always meant to pay for everything. most scholarships do not provide enough to pay for everything, they are simple there to help you. if you have no other means of getting/earning the rest of the expenses, that is your own problem(sorry to say).
 
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Ajay

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Yes it is common in US for students to take loan but again it is for masters. A term called "cash cow" exists for master students :) . University of Southern California and to an extent Stanford is popular for such tactics. They take in quite a few master students but financial support is virtually absent for them. As I recall someone from USC giving a presentation and in his words "You will have to walk on water to get the financial support as a masters student in USC". For Phd I doubt it is the case. I know quite a few of my friends doing their Phds in US and EU but none are making any expenses from their side.

Anyways it seems I digressed quite a bit from the topic. :p .
 

Scalemx

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I'm still waiting for the final info on the scholarship, but I assume I will receive it. (see other threads.) Since I'm not in Japan yet, I also don't have an idea of how much money I will need.

However, I would like to stress another point. The MEXT scholarship is an all or nothing situation. You either get the scholarship and you get all the tuition, you have a nice way to be allowed to study at a university (exams for privately financed students are not held in my country, for example) you receive guidance and finally they even pay you this monthly stipend.
For developing countries, it is a fact that all of these are needed. The question is if all of this is needed for students from wealthier nations/situations. Speaking for Europe, I would imagine that most people can't pay the tuition to start with and the procedures for privately financed student are hardly a possibility. This means the only way for me to get to study in Japan (studying Japanese studies, this isn't such a strange thing, right?) is this scholarship. (I exclude exchange between universities here, because it is a whole other debate)

If I were the Japanese government, I would try to take measures to invite students to Japan in other ways. (Allowing local embassies to conduct entrance exams for universities, so that students can do them easily and maybe with a part time job and exemption get there. Ideas like this) Trying to cut the stipend for everyone, will always lead to problems on the low end of the balance. Having alternative ways for people who only need partial support would mean that they can cut the number of people with this scholarship and keep the stipend high enough, so people who need it and are good enough can still study in Japan.

Just my point of view.:p
 

NeoXtremeX

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Honestly,

In a time of worldwide economic turmoil like the one we are experiencing today, it would make much more sense for them to be increasing the stipend rather than lowering. Japan needs to drive consumer spending up!

Damn it if it gets reduced though!
 

Ajay

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Honestly,
In a time of worldwide economic turmoil like the one we are experiencing today, it would make much more sense for them to be increasing the stipend rather than lowering. Japan needs to drive consumer spending up!
Damn it if it gets reduced though!

Well, one of the goals of DPJ as they mentioned in the election campaign was reduction of tax burden on their citizens, hence you are seeing a over all cost cutting across various segments. R&D happens to be one of those which is hit severely. Too bad, we are applying during a troubled time...
 
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arap

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Well, one of the goals of DPJ as they mentioned in the election campaign was reduction of tax burden on their citizens, hence you are seeing a over all cost cutting across various segments. R&D happens to be one of those which is hit severely. Too bad, we are applying during a troubled time...

Yes efficiency, I read it also...that was also one of the reason why I choose to stay away from the big city like Tokyo, but 50 % cut is actually beyond my prediction
 

jim84

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i think the fiscal year starts in April... so any changes they make occurs starting from april.
in my case, other than reading it from the application guidelines... they never confirmed to me how much i will be receiving. i just assumed it would be the same amount as in the guideline, which it wasnt. i came in during the year they dropped it about 20,000yen, which is this year.
there is something else i wanted to point out. this is a "scholarship." scholarships do not always mean "full ride." they never indicated that the monbusho scholarship was intended to be a full ride scholarship. people just assumed so because the scholarship is so large.

I still don't get what you meant by full ride.
Perhaps a half ride scholarship are those that cover only tuition fees without any stipend?
As a matter of fact, MEXT/Japan Govt/certain organization in Japan do offer such scholarships. Most privately funded students here receive some form of financial aid (or some call partial scholarships), which covers partially or full tuition fees, some come with a small stipend like 30,000yen or so.
But what we're talking now is Monbukagakusho..... gosh, it's supposed to be the most reputable scholarship in Japan.... or perhaps one of the best in the world...

I agree any changes, new policies should not apply to current students/pending students, to be fair, cause we're already onboard, one foot or both feet. Some people would've planned differently (i can't stress enough those who brought families over, i know they don't encourage it, but come on, expect people to leave their wives and kids behind for 3-5years? especially PhD students, many of them are over 30 and married, there are so many of them among us). If they make new changes to new applicants, they can always choose not to apply and turn to other offers. Can't they keep the status quo for current students just for 1-2 more years until they graduate? sigh......
And I hate to say this, but there are many families who receive MORE THAN ONE MEXT scholarship in a family. Like siblings (2 at the same time!!), husbands and wives!!! I thought that is prohibited!!! If they want to reduce spending, this is where they should start from, i thought one scholarship per family is the policy....
 

Ajay

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Actually, in India this is what the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development is doing, we apply to the foreign scholarships through them only and they ensure that one family gets only one scholarship.
Coming back to the topic... Assuming there are 200 total countries in the world (actually i think its 195) and japan offers like 50 odd schols to each country, a 50 % reduction (75,000 * 12) in amount will give about 900,000 * 200 * 50 = 9,000,000,000 Yen per year or roughly $90,000,000 saving per year.... not a small number. Assuming they are targetting $33 billion saving this year 90 million USD saving in one shot is not a totally bad start. They can do this for two years and then may be increase the schol to something like 100,000 yen. Perhaps they want a quick relief now with all the extreme measure so they can deliver their reduction in tax promise and later on when economy comes out of recession they can ameliorate the conditions of the scholars and their profs... two yaers of hardship by them is actually too small at a country level to even mention. It is just that we are applying around this time :p. Anyways... ranting mode off
 

jim84

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Actually, in India this is what the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development is doing, we apply to the foreign scholarships through them only and they ensure that one family gets only one scholarship.
Coming back to the topic... Assuming there are 200 total countries in the world (actually i think its 195) and japan offers like 50 odd schols to each country, a 50 % reduction (75,000 * 12) in amount will give about 900,000 * 200 * 50 = 9,000,000,000 Yen per year or roughly $90,000,000 saving per year.... not a small number. Assuming they are targetting $33 billion saving this year 90 million USD saving in one shot is not a totally bad start. They can do this for two years and then may be increase the schol to something like 100,000 yen. Perhaps they want a quick relief now with all the extreme measure so they can deliver their reduction in tax promise and later on when economy comes out of recession they can ameliorate the conditions of the scholars and their profs... two yaers of hardship by them is actually too small at a country level to even mention. It is just that we are applying around this time :p. Anyways... ranting mode off

Well hope that applies to 2012 applicants only.... they can save that much just for 1 batch of students.
Imagine existing students, they will have to multiply 90millionUSD x 4-5 (simultaneous batches of students from undergrad-postgrad on average).
Oh btw, Japan doesn't offer it to EVERY country in the world. I think the annual numbers stands at around 3000-5000 new sponsors only (including extensions i suppose).
Sigh..... seems that there is no way out for us =p
the number is just too irresistable for them to hop on this move
however by introducing a 50% cut will drive the students crazy and create sorts of protests and problems, perhaps a 10-20% cut might be more logical
 

menrui

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And I hate to say this, but there are many families who receive MORE THAN ONE MEXT scholarship in a family. Like siblings (2 at the same time!!), husbands and wives!!! I thought that is prohibited!!! If they want to reduce spending, this is where they should start from, i thought one scholarship per family is the policy....
wow, i didnt know that. kind of surpising. are they like normal students? or are they like, top of their field people.

ok, i sure i screwed up when trying to explain the full ride scholarship thing:
scholarship = some money to help you pay for tuition + cost of living;
full tuition scholarship = complete tuition, but not cost of living;
full ride scholarship = complete tuition, housing, and cost of living etc;

I first thought the monbusho scholarship was meant to be just a "scholarship." but after looking at it closer, it really does seem like it is meant to be a full ride scholarship( paying for tuition and plane ticket, but not giving living money would be kind of cruel.)

But what we're talking now is Monbukagakusho..... gosh, it's supposed to be the most reputable scholarship in Japan.... or perhaps one of the best in the world...
it might be the best 1 piece scholarship... but a typical masters course student in america recieves just as much through grants, aids, and assistantships. also, compared to the amount a PhD course student recieves, the monbusho scholarship is really lacking.

oh, and im a bit too busy to do any protesting ><
 

Scalemx

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There isn't much we can do, right?
I would imagine though that if they did decide to cut the scholarship in half, either the international students would leave faster. (master students not getting a phd being the largest bunch) and this decline in foreign students would be noticed by the newspapers, who can write a juicy article. Or some of the foreign students would get forced into illegal baito, which means if they get caught, the press can also write a juicy article.

I don't like to complain, before a decision has been made. In addition to that, the forms state that a reduction in stipend can be enforced at any time. The thing is that the amount of power that comes from MEXT students in Japan on this issue, is virtually non-existent. If you really want to have your voice heard, you have to go through influential people or the media.
 

Ajay

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I doubt MEXT scholars can do much in protest. Best is that you can write a letter to the MEXT explaining them your problems, may be get it forwarded through your supervisor to add more weight to it. But an organized protest is out of the question. Further as far as Japanese media is concerned I think they will find the idea of foreigners causing stir more profitable to report than the plight of foreign research scholars :p.
 

menrui

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hehe, i think the media might turn the japanese people against us. think of the headlines:
'foreign students ask for more tax payers money"
-currently being in a recession wont help.
-i think monbushu recipients already have it better than most student (my expenditures are certainly higher than my japanese labmates)
-we're not even permanent residence.

of course this is for education, so someone might understand... ><

anyways, i reallly think people should stop worrying. i think a reduction is coming, but its not going to be drastic(like 50%). you will still be able to live in a nice dorm/apartment with 3 healthy meals a day, im sure of it. and im sure they understand the high cost of living in japan. its not like they are personally trying to screw us over. have more confident people!
 

Scalemx

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Yeah, Menrui is right. I also doubt they will cut the stipends in half. This is spending that can fluctuate, but cutting things by half is a bit too drastic.
 
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