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Osaka gov't universities to introduce means tested tuition reduction scheme

The Osaka Prefectural Government building is seen in the city of Osaka's Chuo Ward on Feb. 25, 2019. (Mainichi/Yumi Shibamura)

OSAKA -- The Osaka Prefectural Government will introduce a system to reduce tuition fees at its prefectural and city-run universities from the start of the academic year in 2020 as part of a means tested program.

Osaka Prefecture University and Osaka City University will be the first facilities to fall under the scheme, while students who are in the fourth and fifth grades at Osaka Prefecture University College of Technology are expected to benefit next from the policy.

Under the prefectural government's plans, households that earn less than 9.1 million yen a year will be subject to discounted tuition fees in accordance with the amount they make. The prefectural government will make tuitions at these institutions free for households earning less than 5.9 million yen a year. The scheme is very similar to an existing framework in place at private high schools in the area, in which households making less than 9.1 million yen a year can have their financial burden reduced based on their income.

To be eligible for the benefits, the student and their guardians must have been living in the prefecture in the three years prior to the first day of school.

From next fiscal year, the national government is introducing a scheme to reduce or exempt low income families from tuition fees for standard length and short course universities. But it is much more limited in its scope: in the case of a family of four in which one child is a university student, only households earning under 2.7 million yen a year are eligible.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said in his policy speech in May that the national government's system was insufficient, stating "We want to make higher education free."

(Japanese original by Yumi Shibamura, Osaka City News Department)

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