Strengthening student support as we usher in a new era
Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) was founded on April 1, 2004, as a core institution to comprehensively implement various student support services for higher education in Japan. The organization has been working towards a target (midterm objective) that had been given to it by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with a five-year deadline and managed to mark its fourth term in April 2019.
Society is changing along with the rapid progression of science and technology, such as ICT and AI, resulting in significant changes in higher education and the lives of students pursuing such education. Moreover, the world in which we live has been transformed by the spread of COVID-19 since last year. Student life as supported by JASSO is also undergoing unprecedented changes.
Under these circumstances, the roles to be fulfilled by JASSO, a national center for student support, are becoming increasingly important. We would like to, in collaboration with the government, universities, and other related organizations, work on further enhancing the following three pillars: Scholarship Programs for Japanese Students, Support Programs for International Students, and Student Support Programs.
First, with respect to the Scholarship Programs for Japanese Students, the New System for Higher Education Aid was begun in April 2020 to expand the breadth of scholarship grants and establish tuition fee reduction and exemption systems over and above what existing scholarship loans (interest-free and interest-bearing loans) offered. At the same time, we provided payments of Emergency Student Support Benefits and launched the new Emergency Special Interest-Free Scholarship Loans as emergency measures for dealing with the spread of COVID-19. Measures to reduce the burden on students who are finding it difficult to repay scholarship loans have also been implemented. In addition, we are working to provide prompt support to students affected by large-scale natural disasters.
When it comes to Support Programs for International Students, we provide financial aid and information on study-abroad topics both for international students looking to study in Japan and Japanese students studying overseas. As the financial burden on international students grows because of restrictions on overseas travel put in place in response to the spread of COVID-19 infections, we are extending payments of Emergency Student Support Benefits to international students in Japan and helping Japanese students overseas continue their studies abroad by providing them with JASSO subventions funded by donations, as well as by providing them with travel support and modifying their study-abroad period. We will continue to promote international student exchanges while keeping an eye on the post-COVID-19 world.
With regard to Student Support Programs, we survey and analyze student life, gather and provide best practices, and help train faculty and staff members at universities with a focus on providing support for career education and employment support and helping students with disabilities. We are also working to improve student living support at universities and other such institutions by aiding with internship and job-finding opportunities, especially now with the increase in students with disabilities, while harnessing online channels and tools.
Operating in accordance with the principle of equal opportunity in education as set forth in the Constitution and the Basic Act on Education, we will continue to reinforce the framework of support that will allow motivated and capable individuals to obtain equal opportunities to study and lead meaningful student lives. We will work to improve the contents of our programs to cater to all students by making sure to adopt the point of view of users and carrying out information activities that are clearer and more carefully tailored towards students, parents, school officials, and citizens.
We respectfully ask that you continue to support and cooperate with us in the fulfilment of our mission.
Japan Student Services Organization
YOSHIOKA Tomoya, President