Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship
The Ito Scholarship Foundation is an organization already well established in offering educational support for students in Japan. The founder and chairman of the Ito Scholarship Foundation and honorary chairman of Seven and I Holdings Co., Masatoshi Ito, also founded and serves as president of the Ito Foundation U.S.A., an American organization.
Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI) is a nonprofit organization founded in New York through the support of University of Tokyo alumni. It has been furthering the globalization and international exchange efforts of the University of Tokyo by providing scholarships to assist in student exchanges between U.S. universities and the University of Tokyo (UTokyo).
Japan as a whole was still poor when Mr. Ito was young, but he fortunately received benevolent money to pay for school expenses which gave him the drive to propel his life to success. As one who is now in the position to give back to society, he founded with much enthusiasm the Ito Scholarship Foundation and Ito Foundation U.S.A. as an expression of gratitude in order to support promising students.
The majority of FUTI members are UTokyo alumni who, in the days before study abroad programs and scholarships became prevalent, had only their ambitions to guide themselves through their study overseas. The experience they gained provided them with the knowledge and skills necessary to become entrepreneurs, businessmen, professors, and productive members of society. These very alumni volunteer their time to FUTI in order to help Japan and UTokyo keep up with the age of fast-paced globalization.
These two organizations have joined forces, Ito Foundation U.S.A. as the funding provider and FUTI as the program managing partner, to support undergraduate and graduate students at UTokyo and in U.S. universities who are interested in mid- to long-term study abroad.
1. Undergraduate or graduate UTokyo students (including C below) who are interested in studying at a university in the United States for 1 semester (2 quarters) or longer but is in need of the scholarship. Eligible majors/specializations include all areas of academic study such as humanities/ liberal arts, social sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, and engineering.
Eligibility also includes, at least for the academic year 2021, participation in online classes either from the US or Japan which are along the same standards of the desired study abroad university such as MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). For details on scholarship amounts for virtual learning, refer to the information in the red banner at the top of this page.
General eligibility includes:
A) A current UTokyo undergraduate or graduate student who wishes to study at a university in the U.S. for one or two semesters and gain some experience abroad, but still would like to get their degree from the University of Tokyo with or without repeating a year upon returning to UTokyo.
Please note that support to those applying through the University of Tokyo in conjunction with or receiving the JASSO scholarship will be limited to a travel grant and/or direct payment to the study abroad university for school expenses.
B) A current UTokyo undergraduate or graduate who wishes to attend a university in the U.S. after graduation to pursue a higher degree. There is a possibility as follows for a graduate of UTokyo with a bachelor’s degree: At most universities, credits can be earned in the summer, allowing for the possibility to finish a master’s degree in two to three semesters. Thus, it is not uncommon for this category of students to be able to pursue another degree or start employment upon returning to Japan without losing a year because of the study abroad.
There are the following cautions to those students who want to study in doctoral courses in the U.S. (1) Many universities in the U.S., unlike those in Japan, admit students to doctoral courses from graduates of bachelor courses. Therefore, it is rather difficult for a graduate from the UTokyo master course to transfer to a doctoral course in the U.S. (2) The doctoral courses in the U.S. usually provide generous support to students. If you need FUTI scholarship for certain reasons other than insufficient qualification for provided support, please explain your extraordinary circumstances under “Support” in the application. (3) In some cases, universities offer admittance on the condition that the student receives support from an external scholarship. The Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship would refrain from supporting such cases. Therefore as a general rule, scholarships to support PhD programs are usually not awarded. However, support to help offset initial expenses to start living in the US may be given (in the first year only, no second year support).
C) Research Study Abroad such as with PhD Candidates
Some possible cases include those who are current PhD candidates at UTokyo wishing to continue research studies at a university in the US with plans to return to UTokyo and finish their degree. In this case, the cooperation between the PhD candidate’s mentor at UTokyo and the research lab director/professor at the US university is essential. Since this is a “Research Study Abroad” getting credits at the US university is not necessary.
There are also cases where a doctoral candidate will wish to attend a masters program in a closely-related major at a US university. If the aim of the study is clear, the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship does not exclude such cases from consideration.
It is not uncommon for a UTokyo student having just entered or already graduated their masters course, to consider going to the US for their PhD degree. This however would take more years than the situation described in B above. By utilizing programs available by UTokyo for overseas research, it is possible to obtain a doctoral degree more efficiently without spending too many years.
D. Eligibility is also open to those who wish to study at a US university who have already graduated UTokyo and have either been in the work force or pursued studies at another university nationally or overseas including the US. Please explain your situation in the essay portion of the application form. Different situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For the sake of fairness, please submit transcripts from UTokyo. If transcripts from after UTokyo are available, please also submit those. Recommendation letters may be written by someone from UTokyo and/or those related to work or university after UTokyo. To send multiple recommendation letters, please refer to our FAQ page.
2. The following cases are also considered though not necessarily the main target for this program. Please apply through the application form (above).
A) A current student in a U.S. university (regardless of nationality or citizenship) who wishes to study at the University of Tokyo for one semester or longer. One criteria is that while studying at UTokyo, the student is a positive influence in encouraging Japanese students in the direction of globalization.
B) Other cases similar to 1. above.
Acceptance by the Study Abroad Program
1. Gaining admission to the university of choice is the responsibility of the individual student. FUTI will judge this to be a display of motivation and determination of the applicant. (For students in U.S. universities, “university of choice” must be “The University of Tokyo.”)
2. In the case of application for the scholarship before the applicant receives a decision of acceptance from the university, we require that at most three top choices be listed on the application. FUTI will decide whether the scholarship will be given if the applicant will be accepted to any one of the three choices or only to the top choice. (Students of U.S. universities may list different departments or majors of UTokyo.)
3. Although eligibility is not contingent on a minimum English proficiency score, we deem English proficiency as one of the important factors for achievement in a study abroad, thus giving the English proficiency score just as much consideration as school grades. (This does not apply to native English speakers.)
How the Scholarship will be Provided
Scholarship will be provided throughout the study abroad period, but no more than two years. The maximum of two years is based on our assumption that students showing sufficient promise and deserving of support for more than two years, should be able to find other means of support by the third year.
The amount of the scholarship (up to 50,000/year) will be determined based on the amount as indicated on the application including tuition, travel expenses, living expenses, and other needs to allow the student the means to fully concentrate on their student life. FUTI considers Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions as not only an opportunity for financial supplement but also an important experience.
A few to ten scholarships are estimated to be given out.
Selection Criteria for the Scholarship
The FUTI Scholarship Committee will make selections based on the applications submitted, and will conduct interviews as needed. In the case that expert advice is required for a specific area of study, FUTI may seek consultation with a third party.
Criteria for selection include:
1. Capability of making contributions to society, especially Japanese society, in the future.
2. The goal and intention of studying abroad are clear. Aside from showing some healthy self-assertiveness, the applicant shows a strong will and aspiration to contribute to society. This objective shall be written into the essay section (to be written in English).
3. The goal or objective of the study abroad should be realistic and consistent with their grades, initiative and leadership.
A) Regarding one’s studies: The number of A or Excellent grades and point averages are important, however an explanation of one’s area of study or area of interest is also important. With many applications of high caliber, showing outstanding aspiration and resolve will make a difference. Despite the scholarship committee’s high level of understanding of a wide variety of areas, full comprehension of a specific area of expertise may be limited. We urge you to be creative in describing and expressing your interest in the area of study.
B) Showing leadership and initiative: This is assessed using the applicant’s records of past and/or present participation in activities such as extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships, and overseeing research projects so please remember to include this in your essay and CV.
4. Much importance is placed on the recommendation letter (probably more so than in the case of other scholarships). FUTI is unlikely to place significant importance to letters written by somebody who does not know you well or who simply writes a series of conventional praises. Letters sent directly to FUTI by those who know you well and write honest criticism and balanced praise will usually gain more trust of reviewers. Having such a person to write your recommendation letter is another point factored into the evaluation. It is acceptable to have more than one recommendation etter, but quality carries more weight than quantity. To submit multiple recommendation letters, please refer to the FAQ page.
Presenting the Application Material
To apply for the scholarship, please submit the below material by using the FUTI online application system by the End of February in the year the study abroad will take place. Please also have your reference send in the recommendation letter by the same date.
1. If you already have been accepted by the university of your choice, please indicate the name of the university and the major/course. If acceptance is not yet determined, please input up to three choices. If this is coordinated through the University of Tokyo study abroad office, you may also input the office information.
2. Estimated costs such as tuition, living expenses, food, airline ticket, insurances, etc., itemized.
3. Other financial support you may be receiving such as financial support from the destination university or from the University of Tokyo, scholarship from other foundations, support from parents or relatives, your own funds, etc.
4. Financial support needed from FUTI.
5. Copies of transcripts and TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC scores. In addition, in the case of UTokyo and possibly other universities where automatically calculated GPA’s are not shown in the transcript, follow the procedures described in this GPA calculator page to calculate GPA’s by yourself and attach the calculation table together with the transcript.
6. A short CV or resume. Include academic background, work experiences (include part-time work), thesis or research topic, extracurricular activities (include volunteer work), publications & reports, special skills, awards & prizes (include scholarships), and other pertinent information. View a sample CV here.
7. The contact information (name, email, phone) of the reference you asked the recommendation letter from.
8. In a brief essay (in English) explain what you would like to achieve in the study abroad.
9. Please inform your reference well in advance to have a recommendation letter (English or Japanese) sent directly to recommend[at]friendsofutokyo.org by the End of February in the year the study abroad will take place. Although it is most suitable to have an advisor or professor that knows you well to write your recommendation letter, it is also acceptable to have someone else write the recommendation letter who knows your academic ability and character well.
Since our web-based application system does not provide a “save” feature, be sure that you have gathered all the required information before you begin.
Announcement of Results
A notification of the scholarship results will be sent by the end of April.
Obligations of the Recipient
Those who receive the scholarship are required to do the following:
1. As a recipient of this scholarship, proper conduct and suitable achievement will be expected.
2. The recipient is to periodically write reports during and after completion of the study abroad.
3. Attendance will be greatly encouraged to events organized for scholarship alumni hosted by the Ito Scholarship Foundation (Tokyo), and other events where there is a chance to meet with other alumni and current recipients.
4. In the case that there is an interruption with the study due to an oversight of the recipient or unforeseen circumstances, the recipient is obligated to make a partial or full repayment of the scholarship received up to that point. The amount to be repaid will be determined by FUTI and the Ito Foundation U.S.A.