Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) has been providing emergency support and financial aid since April to students impacted by COVID-19, when government health advisories closed businesses across Japan slowing economic activity and cutting regular sources of income off for many TUJ students and their families. Although the university shifted classes online in the middle of the spring semester in keeping with quarantine measures and social distance guidelines, the university’s enrollment remained stable throughout the academic term. During the summer 2020 semester, TUJ’s enrollment surpassed 1,000 for the first time with both students in Japan and those who returned to their home countries continuing their studies remotely. Currently, TUJ has resumed face-to-face classes on campus for about 20% of its scheduled fall 2020 offerings with the rest remaining online.
【TUJ Student Emergency Relief Fund】since April
On April 10, TUJ announced that 8.9 million yen in institutional funds would be made immediately available to support students in need. Individual grants of up to 50,000 yen were awarded to 211 students.
The TUJ Dean’s Office has also raised an additional 2.1 million yen from university alumni, staff, faculty and other TUJ supporters and donors, which will be awarded to students in need in a second grant program during the fall academic term. An announcement for the second round was made to both graduate and undergraduate students on September 29, with a deadline for application set for October 11. Grant decisions were made in late October, with the expectation that funds would be distributed shortly thereafter.
【U.S. CARES Act funding】
In the U.S., CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act has been in effect and the federal government allocated its fund to students studying in the educational institutions. The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides assistance to U.S. students facing financial hardship related to the current public health emergency. Temple University’s Main Campus in Philadelphia, PA was the largest recipient of aid in its geographic region under the U.S. CARES Act. TUJ, as a branch campus of Temple University, also benefited. USD 210,600 was provided to 227 TUJ students through the CARES Act from May 28 through July 10.
【Japanese Government Supports】
In May, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) made emergency funding “Emergency Student Support Handout for Continuing Studies”, available to students in need. Institutions of higher education, including TUJ, were allocated fixed amounts of emergency funding for students. Eligible students applied for support, and those deemed most in need by their universities were then recommended to Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) for funding. JPY100,000 was available for each student, and both Japanese nationals and international students were eligible. (An additional JPY100,000 was also available to students whose families are exempt from residential tax, for a maximum award of JPY 200,000 per student.) Funds were allocated to TUJ from MEXT in three separate allotments over the course of the summer, with the first allocation made in May, the second in July, and the third in August.
Applications from students in the first round were due June 16 with final decisions on funding made by TUJ later that week and forwarded to JASSO on June 19. In most cases, the funds were transferred directly from JASSO to student bank accounts within 3 weeks of the application deadline. Applications in the second round were due on July 21, with funds reaching students in mid-August. Recipients of funds in the third and final round were selected by September 30 from unsuccessful applicants from either the first or second round, and the funds were awarded to the students by mid-October.
Additionally, JASSO has announced a further subsidy program to help fund student support programs at universities across Japan. TUJ intends to apply for this subsidy and add any funds made available to the pool of monies being distributed during the aforementioned second grant program in the fall 2020 semester. The total amount of any JASSO subsidy will be combined with donations from the TUJ Community and distributed to students in need.