For most of 2021 and early 2022, under strict border controls, Japan stopped new entries of foreigners into Japan, including students. However, MEXT scholars were given exceptions to enter, for which MSA is thankful. However, this came with the stipulation that new scholars had to pay for the full amount of quarantine expenses. These fees ranged from an average of around ¥150,000 to more than ¥500,000 in some cases.
This amount was an extremely heavy burden for many, considering that a considerable number of students come from developing countries, left their jobs with the expectation of coming to Japan on time and had zero income due to not being able to receive the scholarship while living overseas. To counteract this, MSA launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds and help reduce the financial burden on new students. For more information about the rationale of the crowdfunding campaign, please see this article.
The following details the details of our financial aid, including fund gathering, application eligibility and payments. This is in the interests of transparency and to explain a bit more about MSA’s process in conducting the crowdfunding.
The following are the overall numbers for the project, which will be broken down in further detail in the subsequent sections.
|MSA's own contribution
|Crowdfunding raw amount contributed
|Crowdfunding platform fees
|Crowdfunding amount gathered after fees deducted
|Total - all earnings
|Raw application numbers
|9 people at ¥60,000 (Oct 2021 payment)
|12 people at ¥50,000 (Jan 2022 payment)
|6 people at ¥50,000, 1 person at ¥30,700 (Jul 2022 payment)
|Total - all payments
|Balance after all earnings and payments
MSA initially committed an initial amount of ¥500,000 of our own funds to start the crowdfunding. In addition, MSA also topped up ¥8,716 to make the last payment a a whole number for the last payment.
The main crowdfunding campaign was conducted through a crowdfunding page on GoGetFunding. In addition to payments through GoGetFunding, we also accepted bank transfers to the bank account that MSA uses. The following details the earnings from each platform.
|MSA Intitial Contribution
|GoGetFunding Amount gathered
Platform fees: -¥76,117
In total, we received 101 contributions through GoGetFunding and 7 bank transfers for an average contribution of ¥9,701 (not accounting for platform fees).
We have also received the following notable contributions.
Contributions of ¥50,000
Contributions of ¥20,000 and above
- Austin Zeng
- Ekken Ong
- Keiyin Lam
- LbE Japan
- Younghoon Kim
Applications and Eligibility
MSA gathered applications through Google Forms. In order to be eligible for any payment, applicants needed to be new MEXT scholars who arrived in 2021 or 2022 and had to pay the full amount of their quarantine expenditure by themselves. To prove this, they needed to furnish the following documents through email.
- Photo of landing stamp OR air ticket to Japan
- Photo of student ID card
- Receipt or invoice of quarantine payment
- Screenshot, email or other documentation that the applicant had to pay the full amount of their quarantine expenditure (ie. without receiving university aid)
Subsequent to the above, the screening team (five members) would screen the applicants based on their circumstances and their statement of needs. Factors considered included:
- Amount paid
- Economic level of country of origin
- Statements of whether the person had to incur debt
- Statements of whether the person had to leave their job only to have to survive without income while awaiting arriving in Japan
- Statements of whether the person has dependents
MSA received a total of 198 applications. Of this, a list of high-priority candidates with full documentation was drawn with MSA distributing funds to the extent that funds gathered allowed us to.
Payments were done in 3 rounds: October 2021, January 2022 and July 2022. Payment amounts to successful candidates were set at either half of reported quarantine costs up to an upper limit. For October 2021, this upper limit was set at ¥60,000 per person, which was lowered to ¥50,000 in order to be able to distribute aid to more people.
All except one person reported expenses more than twice the upper limits in their respective rounds.
Therefore, MSA paid a total of ¥1,470,700 to 28 recipients, for an average amount of ¥52,525 per person. Transfer fees were covered by MSA.
The following describes some details of the awardees:
By national income level
Based on World Bank classification
- High-income: 2
- Upper-middle income: 4
- Low-middle income: 21
- Low-income: 1
By region (regions without payments not shown)
- Europe: 2
- Middle East and North Africa: 2
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 2
- South America: 3
- South Asia: 3
- Southeast Asia: 16
Messages of thanks
We have received thank you messages from the large majority of the awardees. To close this report, we wish to display some of the messages of gratitude – addressed to both MSA and to all of the contributors – that we have received.
I would like to say thank you very much to all of the donors, MSA organization committee, alumni and those involved in this program that I can’t mention one by one. I knew about this program from the mailing list and FB group.
Before I came to Japan, I resigned from my job after I received the announcement. At that time, I think I will go to Japan around September 2021. However, due to COVID 19, I just flew in mid November and must be quarantined in a hotel for 14 days. I did not get a 1 month scholarship in October, 2021 and I had to pay ¥154,150 for quarantine. I borrowed some amount of money and now I have to pay it. I have a wife and children still in my country.
This aid finance is very helpful for me to support my finances now.Awardee, July 2022
では、改めて誠にありがとうざいます。この支援金を絶対に大事にして適切に使うようにしますAwardee, awarded Jan 2022
I want to thank everyone who made this possible for us from the MSA to every single person who donated any amount.Awardee, Oct 2021
I don’t know what I’d have done without it as it came in a very crucial time even for those who have already been in Japan for a while as universities are asking us to move out and find our own apartments, and with the amount of quarantine fee we have paid I personally have been living month by month since I haven’t recovered from that payment even now.
So sincerely thank you very much for helping out with what you could, I appreciate it and I’m glad you had our back at a time no other organization did.