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Over 7% of students in Japan considering withdrawal from college over virus: survey

This file photo taken on April 8, 2020 shows a teacher filming their lecture in a vacant classroom for students to watch online. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

TOKYO -- Over 7% of students responding to an online survey on how the novel coronavirus is affecting their lives have said that they are considering withdrawing from university and other tertiary educational institutions due to falling income.

The online survey was carried out from April 9 by Free, a student organization which advocates tuition fee waivers and expanding scholarships. A total of 514 students at 120 universities, junior colleges, vocational schools and other institutions had responded as of the night of April 21.

In responding to questions concerning students' income from their part-time jobs, 37.4% answered that they had seen a "decrease," while another 23% responded that their pay had "become zero." Many students said they use their earnings to cover living costs and tuition fees. With regard to effects on the income of breadwinners in students' families, 36.4% reported their "income has decreased," and another 3.3% answered that their "income has disappeared."

In response to a question asking whether students were considering withdrawing from college or other institutions due to factors such as a drop in part-time job earnings or parents' income, 6.2% said they were "somewhat considering" it, while 1.6% chose "greatly considering." Another 1.9% selected "don't intend to withdraw, but am considering a leave of absence."

In a section where students could provide more information, many students submitted comments describing their concerns over continuing their studies. One said, "I can't get loss-of-income compensation for my part-time job, so I will run out of money to pay tuition fees if things go on like this." Another wrote, "My mother's part-time work has gone, so I'm expecting the money sent from home to me to decrease sharply."

The student organization on April 22 announced an urgent advisory to the national government, in which it pushed for measures to be taken against the situation, including by exempting all students from half of their tuition fees.

(By Hisao Nishiura, The Mainichi Staff Writer)

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