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MEXT Scholarship--monthly stipend has been reduced

jim84

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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.)


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 ><

Exactly like what i said. You guys from rich nations. You can survive well without this scholarship and receive equal quality of education back in the comfort of your home countries. You have plenty of alternatives and perhaps you chose Japan only for it's unique experience and stuff. Not for the necessity of an education and of course, funding that is lacking in your country.

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. .

well, that will be the case. But it will only be temporary, perhaps a couple of years. So it won't hit them much.

Less stipend perhaps mean less hangovers for some. Right, menrui? :p:p:p:p:p:p:p
just kidding man
 
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Scalemx

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Exactly like what i said. You guys from rich nations. You can survive well without this scholarship and receive equal quality of education back in the comfort of your home countries. You have plenty of alternatives and perhaps you chose Japan only for it's unique experience and stuff. Not for the necessity of an education and of course, funding that is lacking in your country.
I can indeed get a Master's course in my 'rich country', which will cost me almost nothing, because my government pays almost all expenses. (I don't have a massive stack of money, just a government who pays over 90% of my tuition and other benefits, if I study inside my country) However, I didn't choose to apply to the MEXT scholarship for the fun of it. I study Japanese studies. I need language practice in the country itself as well as direct access to the materials that I want to research. If you studied Japanese studies and didn't go to Japan for more than a year, you basically hold an almost worthless diploma. This scholarship is for me a necessity, since I can't go anywhere but Japan, to get this research done.

From a Japanese perspective it doesn't matter, if you do research in Japan for the unique experience or to escape your country's limited educational assets. What matters is your research. MEXT is wiling to invest a certain amount of money in research and if you can give them that research, they give you the scholarship. They are not giving you money out of charity, so they will bargain over the prize. The question for the Japanese is; where is the flipping point? How can we attract enough interesting researchers, but pay the least amount of money?
 

dblbstrd

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and not much besides that.

Exactly. What if you take a spill bicycling to school and break your arm and have to go to the hospital and are left with some bills to pay? Or if your lab activities require you to travel? Yes, travel expenses are usually reimbursed, but they generally require you to pay out of your pocket and you get it back in a month or two. In my lab, I've had to spend upwards of 60,000 yen some months for train or plane tickets.
If I was only receiving on the order of the absolute minimum needed for rent and food, there'd be no way I could afford that kind of thing.
 

menrui

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hmm, i can understand the scholarship being large enough to provide for lab trips/activities and such. everyone in my lab also pays out of the pocket. of course we can refuse to go... but its frowned upon.

anyways, scholarships are generally not meant to cover for accidents right? i've seen a lot of scholarship guidelines and they usually state they will cover for "basic living expenses." i never thought medical expenses, especially for accidents, were part of basic living expenses.

also, if we were to start adding "what if" to accidents, wouldnt it be really hard to draw the line? what if i were to get into a really serious accident? should the stipend be large enough to cover those also?

i hope im not coming off as the bad guy here. i really wouldnt like it if the scholarship was reduced either.
 

NeoXtremeX

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I hope this helps ease peoples worries about next years RECORD budget:

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--
Beset by plunging popularity and the indictment of its prime minister's former aide, the Japanese government Friday unveiled a $1.015 trillion budget outline for its next fiscal year that offers a slew of programs for the public but could raise worries about the nation's fiscal health.

The budget announcement follows the indictment without arrest Thursday of a former state-paid secretary to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, a development that adds to the challenges facing Japan's three-month-old government. Political analysts say the episode isn't crippling to Hatoyama, who has denied knowledge of the matter and doesn't face charges, but it adds to pressures that already include a weakened domestic economy and strained relations with the U.S.

"The scandal in itself is not so serious, but it tarnishes his reputation further and diminishes his power to be an effective prime minister," said Seiji Adachi, senior economist with Deutsche Bank, who sees the potential for Hatoyama to resign next year if his numbers don't improve.

The government hopes the budget's inclusion of steps such as allowances for families raising children and free public high school education will help boost its popularity going into an Upper House election next summer.

Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan campaigned on similar promises, contributing to its landslide election victory in August.

"I believe that we have delivered all we can without compromising fiscal discipline," Hatoyama said at a news conference Friday. "Our country's economic and employment conditions are very severe. The most important thing for us is to protect the lives of the Japanese citizens."

The budget will require massive debt issuance that could add to concerns about the fiscal health of Japan, which has a debt level that's already the worst among industrialized nations at 180% of gross domestic product. Tokyo is planning on issuing 44.303 trillion yen in new government bonds, the highest ever for an initial budget plan. That was slightly above its goal of keeping the debt float at about Y44 trillion.

On Thursday, Tokyo prosecutors indicted Hatoyama's former state-paid secretary without arrest on a charge of falsifying the premier's funding reports in violation of the political funds control law. Hatoyama apologized over the matter but said he intends to stay in office.

"It would be wrong for me to resign now, as that would mean abandoning my responsibility to meet peoples' expectations of me to make new policy," he said Thursday. He added, "I should respect it if calls for resignation rise to an overwhelming extent. But I will do my best not to let that happen by explaining fully."

Local newspaper polls show the Hatoyama government's approval rating has fallen below 50%, compared with levels above 70% when it first took office in September.

The indictments are particularly painful for Hatoyama because they run contrary to his image as a reformer, political analysts say. The DPJ's predecessor in Tokyo, the Liberal Democratic Party, was tarred by a series of scandals in recent years that eroded its public support.

"This is a small scandal in financial terms but it does give the impression that he tarred with the same brush as his predecessors," said Peter Tasker, strategist at Arcus Research.

That means Hatoyama faces increased pressure to carry out his domestic agenda, despite daunting budget pressures.

"He can rely on a bedrock of public support to get him past next year's elections but he has to deliver," Tasker said, adding, "I would be surprised if he steps down, but if after another year he has not proved his worth then it will be a different story."

Prosecutors in Tokyo Thursday accused Keiji Katsuba, 59, of falsifying fund reports beginning in 2000 by padding income from parties and listing dead people as donors. He couldn't be reached for comment.

According to Hatoyama's lawyers, he did this because he didn't want Hatoyama to look like an unpopular politician who couldn't raise money from a broad number of people. According to the lawyers, some of the funds attributed to non-existent people came unknowingly from Hatoyama's mother, totaling Y15 million a month from summer 2002 until this past June.

A second former aide, Daisuke Haga, 55, was accused of negligence Thursday for not noticing discrepancies and ordered by a Tokyo court to pay a Y300,000 fine. Haga couldn't be reached.

Hatoyama said Thursday he would immediately pay any unpaid donation taxes, which could total Y600 million.

The Japanese government Thursday said it expects an anemic economic recovery to hold down tax revenue. Tokyo predicts Japan's economy will expand by 1.4% on a price-adjusted basis but only 0.4% on a nominal basis. Tokyo estimates its tax income will come to Y37.396 trillion, which marks the first time in the post-WWII era for the estimate to be below the new debt issue plan on an initial budget basis, the Ministry of Finance said.

The budget plan will contain Y53.454 trillion in policy spending, and 51% of that will go to social security programs. That represents the first time for it to account for over half of the total, according to the finance ministry, reflecting the DPJ-led government's focus on jump-starting individual spending over the type of big public works projects carried out by former administrations.

From the wall street journal. If you found it too long to read, basically it says that the government unveiled a record 1 trillion dollar budget for the next year.
 

uranussama

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Ugh this is unnerving to me. I was just awarded this scholarship and I dont have a lot of money saved up... just graduated collage a year ago in the US state with the highest unemployment rate. I have two part-time jobs but I've also been paying back student loans and that doesnt get you very far. This could be a disaster for me (and others) so I hope the cuts, if they occur, arent too drastic. =/
 

Pawit

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I just heard from a couple of my friends (who get their info from different sources, and are at different universities) that new MEXT undergraduate students will get 124,000 yen per month, while new MEXT masters students will get 130,000 yen per month. I have not personally confirmed this, nor confirm if this change would affect existing MEXT students, but just imagining it is like a kick in the nuts for me >.<!

If anyone can confirm this, and/or whether it will affect existing students, please post!
 

neonfish

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Haven't heard anything yet but this is probably true. There's no smoke without fire.
 

jim84

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hmm....all i can find is based on MEXT2010's application, the stipend is 124,000yen for Undergrad and 154,000yen for Master's.
Well, it is a bit of reduction (4000yen and 1000yen respectively), which is good news. I really hope they won't change it so drastically. Afterall, the stipend amount for 2010 was just announced 1 year ago. However, they were also merciless in cutting the MEXT2009 batch's stipend by 15,000yen 1 month before departure ><
 

dblbstrd

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Well, I figure we will get an answer on this pretty soon. Last year the announcement came right around this time.

I think that the figure of 130,000 for grad students is something of a rumor, I heard some talk of this a few months ago.. but I could be wrong *shrug*

It'd be enough to get by, sure, but it's borderline on the level where I really start to consider the fact that I could be getting paid pretty well and living a little more comfortably elsewhere, doing the same kinds of things I do here.
 

menrui

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on a serious note, thats like a 25% reduction from what we(incoming 2009) applied for.
 

jim84

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can someone confirm this?

i thought you said Wii, dude.


btw, 130,000seems more reasonable than the 50% cut rumour.
But it's still a lot.... >< down from the 170,000 we expected
40,000yen... that's = my food money @ apartment rent
 

NeoXtremeX

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For the people who feel uneasy about next years stipend issues. I just went through every single line of the Budget request that MEXT has for the FY 2010.

The budget report is found here:

http://www.mext.go.jp/component/b_menu/other/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2009/10/28/1284252_2.pdf

This years budget is, in whatever amount of yen this number stands for (billions, millions, whatever), 57,562. Last year, it was 52,817 which amounts to an increase of 4,745. Thats an 8.98% aproximately.

For comparison, if you open this other pdf and scroll down to the end,

http://www.mext.go.jp/component/b_menu/other/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2010/01/28/1288506_4.pdf

You can see a chart with all the budgets MEXT has had. For the Japanese impaired, the budget decreased 3.9% in 2003, 4.1% in 2004, 5.4% in 2005 and a whopping 10.6% in 2006. After 4 subsequent budget decreases, there was a mere increase of 2.7% in 07, 0.1% in 08, and 0.2% in 09 (versus the previous year.).

I firmly believe that the increase in budget this year puts us in a favorable position. 8.99% Increase in budget is a lot.. specially considering the figures of the years prior to that increase. Furthemore, I read this year budget request line by line and there was no mention in a decrease in budget for MEXT scholars. Actually, there were several lines dedicated to increasing funding for both national and international researchers in Japanese Universities.

Although I don't speak for the government and I could be wrong, I think its safe to assume that there won't be a stipend decrease this year. But that's just me.
 

Rica

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You gotta wonder...
If the aim here is to increase the number of foreign students and researchers in Japanese universities and foster international exchange, how is that served by cutting the scholarship?
The last thing you'd want working towards that goal is for a bunch of existing scholars to go broke and have to go home, or new students deciding not to go cos they can't afford it.
I doubt that there is a drastic cut in the works, as I suspect it would be somewhat unproductive in the long term.
Anyways, we'll know soon enough. Most of us are still waiting to hear where we're going!
:?
 

jim84

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For the people who feel uneasy about next years stipend issues. I just went through every single line of the Budget request that MEXT has for the FY 2010.
The budget report is found here:
http://www.mext.go.jp/component/b_menu/other/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2009/10/28/1284252_2.pdf
This years budget is, in whatever amount of yen this number stands for (billions, millions, whatever), 57,562. Last year, it was 52,817 which amounts to an increase of 4,745. Thats an 8.98% aproximately.
For comparison, if you open this other pdf and scroll down to the end,
http://www.mext.go.jp/component/b_menu/other/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2010/01/28/1288506_4.pdf
You can see a chart with all the budgets MEXT has had. For the Japanese impaired, the budget decreased 3.9% in 2003, 4.1% in 2004, 5.4% in 2005 and a whopping 10.6% in 2006. After 4 subsequent budget decreases, there was a mere increase of 2.7% in 07, 0.1% in 08, and 0.2% in 09 (versus the previous year.).
I firmly believe that the increase in budget this year puts us in a favorable position. 8.99% Increase in budget is a lot.. specially considering the figures of the years prior to that increase. Furthemore, I read this year budget request line by line and there was no mention in a decrease in budget for MEXT scholars. Actually, there were several lines dedicated to increasing funding for both national and international researchers in Japanese Universities.
Although I don't speak for the government and I could be wrong, I think its safe to assume that there won't be a stipend decrease this year. But that's just me.

Well, it doesn't explain why the alleged 0.2% increase in 2009 leads to a Whopping 8.82% reduction in Postgrad's stipend.
Anyway, things are neither optimistic nor pessimistic at this point. Just wait for the verdict.
 

dblbstrd

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Although I don't speak for the government and I could be wrong, I think its safe to assume that there won't be a stipend decrease this year. But that's just me.
I don't think it's safe to assume that at all. Some of my predecessors have been here for as long as 2 years research student, 2 years masters, 3 years PhD for a whopping seven years, and the story they've told is that the stipend has been cut by a couple or few thousand yen every year. It used to be like 180,000 yen for grad students and 140-ish for undergrads.

And remember even if they are increasing the overall budget, it doesn't mean anything with direct regard to each student or researcher's stipend. Maybe they're allocating money for more students with lower stipend per student, or maybe they could be expecting the cost of plane tickets or tuition/fees to go up and setting aside more for that.

I would honestly be beyond (pleasantly) surprised if they didn't cut it by some amount; my concern is just how much.. if it helps though, probably some of the rumors going around are because of the perceived severity of the cuts from last year, but for non first-year students it wasn't that big of a cut really; it went from 160k to 154k or so.
My prediction is that it'd hit close to 150k even this time around.
 

NeoXtremeX

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Well, the reason I went back 7 years with my comparison was because up until that point there had rarely been budget decreases. Ever since there was a budget decrease, the stipend got reduced periodically.

Now you could argue that the biggest decrease in the stipend happened on a year there was an increase, but I think the reason it was reduced so drastically was because they hadn't seen an increase in budget in 4 years straight, so in order to avoid major shortfalls in the future, they reduced the stipend significantly to ease pressure on the budget.

Thoughts? Come on people! Let's be optimistic!!
 

senseiman

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At the risk of tempting fate, I'm going to say I am cautiously optimistic at this point. Last year when they announced the big cuts we received notice in early February about them, with the reduced stipend going into effect from April. Now it is almost April and I haven't been informed of any changes.

Lets keep those fingers crossed.
 

akaitsume1

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Hm. We were told here at Keio during the orientation that research students are getting 152000 yen per month. So, essentially, no drop (or a very small one, depending). I hope that eases some worries.
 
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