Increasing U.S.-Japanese student mobility faces several intertwined funding issues:
- Tuition differentials between U.S. and Japanese institutions
- Limited ability of many students to manage such additional costs as air travel
- Difficulty in maintaining balance in student exchange programs, thereby costing one side more than the other
- Limited financial ability of institutions to develop new or additional study abroad scholarships for their students
- Limited financial ability of institutions to support the development of new projects that might enhance student mobility
There is one additional difficulty found in a few Japanese universities: the practice of charging “placeholder” tuition and fees to their own students who are away at an overseas institution. This places a double financial burden on students. Fortunately, this practice is fast fading.
To elaborate, while the average tuition and fees that Japanese and U.S. students pay to attend university are relatively similar (both high with respect to the rest of the world), this masks differences that matter in students’ ability to attend an institution in the other country directly. A 2012 Business Insider study showed that the average annual tuition cost at an institution of higher education was $11,865 in Japan and $13,856 in the United States. There is, however, significant variation in the United States in two regards: 1) prestigious private institutions charge well over three times this amount and 2) public institutions generally charge international students higher tuition than U.S. students.
The way that many colleges and universities have managed this difference has been through exchange partnerships, in which students spend a semester or year at the partner but pay tuition and fees to their home institution. This system only works financially when roughly equal numbers of students are going in each direction. Often, however, more Japanese students want to act on the exchange than U.S. students. Some U.S. institutions are limiting their number of exchange partners for this reason, something especially true for those U.S. institutions that are well-known in Japan and have many partners.
Furthermore, developing short-term study experiences as well as meeting travel costs for the increasing number of students with financial need require that colleges and universities provide funding outside the exchange model. Yet these activities are precisely where the goals of providing greater opportunity for U.S.-Japanese student engagement will be met.
There are several ways to approach such challenges. All ask institutions to think about study abroad in new ways. All reward institutions with greater student learning and institutional connectivity. Among the strategies worth considering are the following:
Reposition study abroad and international partnerships within the institution’s financial model. For many colleges and universities, these activities are relatively new. They are being fitted to existing funding schemes. If institutions are serious about the importance of international learning and connectivity, they must integrate these costs into their primary financial models. These activities must no longer be seen as tangential or auxiliary. Doing so usually means some combination of reallocation and fund-raising. The cost benefits (in terms of increased applications and positioning the institution for external grants) should also be factored into these calculations.
Embed student mobility and international partnership across the curriculum and priorities of the institution. The more U.S. and Japanese students and faculty interact with their partners in the other nation, the fewer exchange imbalances will occur. Students will be aware of the opportunity to study at the partner, be intrigued and knowledgeable about what they might learn there, and already have personal connections. It is not an overstatement to say that every strategy in this RoadMap is directed toward this overall goal of increasing and enhancing such connectivity.
Create equivalencies between short-term and long-term exchange, as well as other forms of mobility. Some colleges and universities are beginning to develop exchange models that encompass short-term exchange as well as long-term. Five students attending a six-week course might be considered financially equivalent to one or two students for a full semester. In a similar vein, receiving a faculty visitor for a semester might enable a student to study at the institution from which the faculty member came.
Consider switching to fee models for some exchanges. If student mobility remains one-sided in a particular partnership, the partners could reach an agreement on a fee that incoming students pay to the receiving institution. A number of European universities have already moved to this model.
Look for partners that actively want exchanges or other forms of student mobility. Many universities with well-established Japanese Studies or American Studies programs already have as many partners as they can manage. Exchange imbalances will occur if they add more. On the other hand, among the thousands of colleges and universities in the United States and Japan, there are many institutions actively looking for partners. Enlarging the list of potential partners can be very fruitful.
Partner with surrounding communities and businesses, particularly those that have an interest or base in the other country. Both the Tobitate and Generation Study Abroad initiatives stress the value of public-private partnerships for generating funding and other supports for student mobility. Also, see the Japan Center for Michigan Universities described elsewhere in the RoadMap.
Support for students in searching for external scholarships. The following is a partial list of such opportunities.
For U.S. students going to Japan:
- Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan
- Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA)
- The Laurasian Institution
- Blakemore Asian Language Fellowships
- Boren Undergraduate Scholarships
- College Women’s Association of Japan – Undergraduate Scholarships for Non-Japanese Women
- Critical Language Scholarships
- Foundation for Asia Pacific Education
- Gilman International Scholarships for Undergraduate Study Abroad
- Monbukagakusho Scholarships
- The Rotary Foundation
For Japanese students going to the United States:
- TOBITATE Scholarship Information
- JASSO Financial Support Information, Additional financial support information
- Scholarship for Graduate Studies
- Fulbright Scholarship
- FASID (Foundation for Advanced Study in International Development)
- Rotary Japan
- Keidanren Ishizaka Memorial Foundation
- Nakajima Foundation
- Kikawada Foundation
- International Fellowship
- Funai Overseas Scholarship
- Heiwa Nakajima Foundation
- Honjo International Scholarship Foundation
- Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation
- Murata Overseas Scholarship Foundation
- Yoshida Scholarship Foundation
Seek external grants to develop innovative partnership mobility programs. Many of the bi-national programs discussed in Innovations benefited from external grants to get started. These are precisely the kinds of programs that draw in new students, new academic disciplines, and new institutions. The following is a partial list of agencies and foundations that have supported such work.
For both U.S. and Japanese institutions:
- The Japan Foundation
- The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
- Japan-United States Friendship Commission
- Asian Cultural Council
- Tomodachi Initiative
- Toyo Foundation
- United States-Japan Foundation
For U.S. institutions:
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Science Foundation
- U.S. Department of Education
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
For Japanese institutions:
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)
- Re-Inventing Japan Project
- Top Global University Project
- Japan Foundation
- JASSO — Financial Support for Student Exchange
- UMAP (University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific)
- MEXT Scholarships for study abroad
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