SENDAI – Private colleges and universities in Fukushima Prefecture continued to experience depressed enrollments in the 2013 school year, even as counterparts in two neighboring prefectures also hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami saw new students increase close to pre-quake levels, according to the education ministry.
“Enrollments of students from outside the prefecture plunged because of misinformation about the crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station,” an official at a Fukushima private school said.
The official expressed concern about the future of private schools because of declines in tuition revenues. The education ministry is considering aid to troubled higher-learning institutions in the prefecture — which account for 10 of 31 in the three prefectures.
In 2013, the Fukushima schools had 18.7 percent fewer new students than before the quake, while at some, enrollment remains half of pre-disaster levels. This compares with a 4.7 percent decline at six Iwate schools and a 2.2 percent drop at 15 Miyagi institutions.
Meanwhile, enrollment at the state-run Fukushima University and the prefectural Fukushima Medical University has changed little. A prefectural official said lower tuition fees, compared to privately run schools, may be a factor.