Diet cuts high school tuition waivers

Kyodo

The Diet enacted legislation Wednesday making it more difficult for families to have their public high school tuition waived, reversing a policy from the previous administration.

The bill had the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and some other parties.

The legislation limits the beneficiaries of the tuition-exemption program to households that earn less than ¥9.1 million a year, effective from next April, revising the tuition-exemption law enacted in 2010 under the administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan.

The revision cuts the number of public high school students exempt from tuition to 2.78 million from 3.57 million.

Although an annual subsidy of ¥120,000 has been given to all households with private high school students under the 2010 law, the revision disqualifies households earning ¥9.1 million or more.

The revision is projected to save the government ¥49 billion annually, and some of the savings will be used to beef up subsidies for households that earn less than ¥5.9 million with private high school students.

The government will give ¥300,000 in such subsidies to households earning less than ¥2.5 million, ¥240,000 to those earning between ¥2.5 million and ¥3.5 million, and ¥180,000 to those earning between ¥3.5 million and ¥5.9 million.

The government also says it will create a scholarship program for high school students from low-income households.