The JASSO Scholarship (Japan Student Services Organisation) is a grant (non-repayable) from the Japanese government given to students from foreign countries coming to study in Japan. You can apply for it through Japanese embassies or Universities. It was part of our application process for ICU last year to decide whether we wanted to be considered for it or not. Katy and I both applied for it, but Rob didn't. I think most people from Leeds did apply for it.
We were told it was going to be really difficult to get one, and at best only one person from Leeds per Japanese University would receive the Y80,000/month grant.
I didn't hold out much hope of getting it because my parents generally earn too much for me to be considered for financial support, but I thought there was no harm in trying.
I was refused financial support as I suspected, and Katy got the grant. I was really happy for her because she definitely deserved and needed it more than I did.
A select few of others from Leeds also got the grant and were told earlier this year. But then suddenly, about a month or two months ago, a lot more people started being offered the support out of the blue. It came to the point where about two thirds of everyone studying Japanese at Leeds had the scholarship. And it didn't seem to be based on financial background or academic performance! I was very confused.
But then, about a week ago, JASSO froze all its scholarships, claiming that it didn't have the funds to provide so much support. I thought this was really unfair to the people who worked really hard, and don't have the personal finance to fund their year in Japan by themselves. Katy is now waiting to see if she will receive the full Y80,000 for this month, or if it's been reduced, or even if she won't get it at all.
Some Universities, such as Kansai Gaidai, have been really helpful and have told the students left without JASSO support that they will give them the money from their own funding. Whether this actually happens, we'll have to wait and see.
But I do think it's ridiculous that JASSO made such a huge error. It seems that the best thing to do in this situation is apologise to the people who were told they'd receive it after the original few, and then just fund the people who got it in the first place. But, of course, it's not up to me! Maybe JASSO will find the money from somewhere and be able to keep its promise to all the students, but something tells me that might not happen!