More kids on Ashinaga loans can’t afford college

Kyodo

An increasing number of high school students relying on loans for orphans and single-parent children are taking up employment and giving up on going to college or university for financial reasons, according to a survey by the Ashinaga student aid charity.

The poll, released Saturday, also found that 66.5 percent said they are short on school funds.

It mailed questionnaires to 3,464 households receiving Ashinaga loans in November and got replies from 2,273 of them.

On plans after graduating from high school, 39.2 percent of the households said their children hope to go to universities or junior colleges, representing the largest segment, while 26.9 percent said they will begin working.

Among those choosing employment, those who said they are giving up college education due to financial reasons accounted for 52.9 percent, up 13.2 percentage points from the previous survey two years ago and representing 14.3 percent of all respondents.

Of the total, households headed by an unemployed single parent came to 9.8 percent, and among parents with jobs, only 30.8 percent had full-time positions.

Parents with part-time work accounted for 57.7 percent. The average take-home pay of these breadwinners in October was ¥137,000.

Households supplementing school fees with money earned from children’s part-time jobs totaled 25.4 percent.

Most families complained about the increase in the 5 percent consumption tax next April to 8 percent and an expected further hike in the levy to 10 percent planned for October 2015.

Children are being deprived of their potential as human, said Noriko Tarukawa, associate professor of humanities and social sciences at University of Tsukuba. “Current social security is not fulfilling its role of reducing child poverty.”

The fund provides ¥25,000 for those attending public high schools, while those attending private high schools receive ¥30,000 each month.

Those planning to attend college from next spring or are going now can receive ¥40,000 or ¥50,000 every month, depending on financial circumstances.