Freshmen allowances tumble to ¥89,500 a month

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Allowances sent from home to freshmen at private colleges in the 2012 academic year fell to a record low average of ¥89,500 per month, a recent Tokyo college staff union poll has found.

The level reflects a decline of ¥1,800 from an average ¥91,300 in the previous academic year, said the Tokyo Federation of Private University Faculty and Staff Unions, which began keeping such records in 1985. The 1994 academic year saw the highest allowances, which averaged ¥124,900.

“The decrease in yearly household income before taxes might have led to the decline in allowances,” said Atsushi Kakizaki, a member of the union’s central executive committee.

Household incomes subject to the survey averaged ¥8.752 million, compared with ¥8.958 million in the previous academic year, the survey said. The figure has been lingering below ¥9 million since the 2009 academic year.

After subtracting ¥61,800 in average monthly rents covered by the allowances, students had ¥923 left to cover their individual daily expenses. The daily expense figure was just 37.5 percent of the ¥2,460 available in the 1990 academic year.

Kakizaki noted students had no choice but to work part-time to make ends meet, as they had to pay for food and utilities plus study materials.

The poll, sent to parents and guardians of freshmen at 17 Kanto-area colleges, received 5,349 valid responses.