Today’s IUC series article, written by Karen, is complemented by a video I recorded about funding the IUC with a Foreign Language Area Studies fellowship. I recorded this video as a collaborative project with Jamie Cox (IUC ’09-’10), who maintains a video blog (vlog) channel about the IUC on youtube. Be sure to check them both out below as you read!
So you have been presented with a lot of information about the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama and you feel informed and like this is the place for you. But you’re wondering “What about finances? Can I afford this right now?” Well, hopefully this article will help give you a bit of insight into how much money you need to consider having and a few ideas about funding.
What should I know about the cost of IUC going in?
IUC does a great job of letting you know ahead of time how much tuition is. Like most schools and educational programs, the tuition does go up a little every year to help compensate for the economy and rising costs. In my year (‘09-10), the 10-month program was about $20,000 and right now the IUC website lists the 2010-11 year as $21,000. For an intensive, high-level program that consistently receives rave reviews from its alumni and truly challenges and helps their students grow, you already know that this is a great deal. For tuition alone, budget for that much.
However! If you are a student officially enrolled at an IUC member school (a school that helps to fund IUC), you receive a partial tuition remission. At the moment, this is listed on the site as $6,000 (but remember that these numbers are subject to change). At least during my year, the policy was that they will honor this discount for up to two years after you graduate from your member institution.
The most expensive part of the IUC is not so much the tuition, but the cost of living in Japan. IUC recommends that you budget for roughly $20,000 for rent, food, and local transportation. I lived pretty modestly, with a small but nice apartment and rented furniture. Since I mostly cooked, I had fairly minimum food expenses, which put me at about $1,300/mo.
In terms of cost, tuition and living expenses together can be fairly high, but are by no means impossible. It would be best to go in with some savings, because scholarships are not guaranteed. However, you should apply aggressively to anything you can. The IUC will try to help as much as they can and the wonderful staff there do take funds into consideration when reviewing the cheaper IUC housing options. I cannot emphasize this enough: do NOT be shy about applying to any scholarships or funding opportunities that you can think of.
What should I apply to for funding?
The IUC will apply to a plethora of scholarships on your behalf (they already start helping you out from the time you are accepted! They’re great!). The scholarships that they apply to will be listed in the documents they send to you after acceptance. The types of scholarship that IUC can apply on your behalf tend to be ones that are funded by organizations in Japan. Do not be surprised if you are awarded a scholarship and then asked to meet with the donators or an organization representative for a small get-together and to say thank you. This is not only a really nice thing to do, but you can help leave a good impression so that the donors will be more inclined to help the next potential IUCer.
But what should you really look out for on your own? There are at least two big ones that I know of that you need to apply to independently:
1) FLAS, FLAS, FLAS.
What is FLAS? It is the Foreign Language Area Studies Program, which is funded by the Department of Education. Keep in mind, though, that FLAS is for students enrolled in a recognized school. IUC is a program, not a school. This means that those students are only eligible if they will still be registered at their home-school while they attend the IUC.
Paula funded her stay for both the summer and academic year programs solely on two FLAS fellowships. Here is a video she prepared describing how possible living in Japan with this kind of funding was and what sort of expectations one should have:
2) Blakemore Foundation
The Blakemore Foundation awards scholarships for East Asian language studies. What you need to keep in mind is that the deadline for this scholarship is (at the time I’m writing this) December 30, which is much earlier than the IUC application deadline. This means that you need to be on the ball with this one!
3) Your school
Your school likely has some funding available for students, so do not be shy about asking your advisor and contacting your East Asian department to see what is available!
In the end..
In the end, do not let funding stop you from applying to IUC and available scholarships. Remember, even if things do not work out for whatever reason the year that you apply, you can apply again the following year. People do remember if you show dedication and you might be able to get a very good scholarship that was previously unavailable. The current economy makes things tough, but not impossible. I hope this has helped give an introduction to the costs of IUC and things to consider when budgeting and applying for funding.
If you have any questions or comments, drop us a note here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In response to a commenter’s request, we have added the following information below:
Other ways students have funded their stay at IUC without being affiliated with a university:
- Leverhulme (UK)
- College Women’s Association of Japan
- Scholarship from the Tokyo Club
- US Dept of Education Fulbright
- Japan Foundation scholarship
Karen Curtin graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 with an M.A. from the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department and a concentration in Japanese Language Pedagogy. She attended the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies 2009-2010.