Status of Scholarship Awards 2024-2025

FUTI provides scholarships to support short-term summer study abroad programs in both directions between the University of Tokyo and US universities, as well as mid- to long-term study abroad programs of one semester or longer in the United States, primarily from the University of Tokyo (undergraduate, graduate, and alumni students). The funding of these scholarships is sourced by the generous and much-appreciated donations from supporters of FUTI: (1) The “Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship” has been a mainstay of the scholarship program since FY2016 and is funded by a donation from the US foundation founded by the late Masatoshi Ito, former honorary chairman of Seven & i Holdings Co. (2) The “Hsun Kwei & Aiko Takizawa Chou Scholarship” which officially went into full-swing in 2023, is funded by a donation to the UTokyo New York Office from Mr. and Mrs. Chou. After completing graduate studies at UTokyo, Mr. Chou was successful in the semiconductor business in the US. (3) In operation since 2008, the “FUTI Scholarship” is funded by the individual donations of many UTokyo alumni, and donations from Shin-Etsu Chemical’s US subsidiary, Shintech Inc. 

Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, application numbers from US students wishing to go to UTokyo to participate in short-term summer study abroad programs were robust. Roughly 10 students used to be selected each year out of several dozen applicants. Despite the slowdown during the pandemic, numbers have rebounded to seven students being selected out of 33 applicants in FY2024, and 11 students selected out of 32 applicants in FY2023. The makeup of participants in 2024 is as follows: Two science-related internships at UTRIP, two participants in UTSIP-Kashiwa, two participants from the University of California study abroad program UCEAP, and one in a medical school study abroad program. The level of competition for the 2024 selections may have been slightly higher than in previous years. 

Before the pandemic, the number of UTokyo students selected for participation in short-term study abroad programs in US universities was about seven students out of approximately 20 applicants each year. The decline in numbers due to the pandemic seems to have a longer effect on this group of applicants, and in FY2024 there were five students selected out of 14 applicants. In FY2023, there were four selected out of 7 applicants. Of those selected in FY2024, two are in the GEfIL program which provides leadership education in English on Saturdays for about 100 students selected from the entire University of Tokyo in the fall of their sophomore year. Part of the requirements of GEfIL is to participate in a short-term study abroad program twice during their summer breaks, and since the program provides a scholarship equivalent to only half the tuition fee, FUTI makes up for the shortfall by providing scholarships to outstanding students. The other three students found the study abroad programs on their own. 

Numbers for the mid- to long-term studies for UTokyo students to study in US universities for one semester or longer held steady from before the pandemic and from 2021 to 2023 at around 30 applicants out of which about 10 were selected each year. However, in FY2024, the number of applicants jumped to 38. The main reason for the increase is that applications of the USTEP program go through an internal selection process at UTokyo and are recommended to study abroad for two semesters at partner universities. Of the 38 applicants in FY2024, 14 were selected. Of those selected, three students were on a scholarship “with a limitation stipulated on the amount from third-party scholarships”. Two of these three were awarded USTEP scholarships in conjunction with JASSO scholarships which caps the amount of support from third-party scholarships. [One student who was selected to receive the JASSO scholarship with the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship had ultimately declined the scholarship because of an offer from another scholarship which paid slightly more than the combined but limited amount set forth by JASSO. ] The other student was offered a FUTI scholarship that only covers the initial cost for a PhD student who will now be receiving sufficient support from the PhD program at the US university. 

Of the 14 students selected for mid- to long-term studies in FY2024, two undergraduates (one of whom declined as described above) and one PhD student are under the USTEP program, and two students will be studying at UC Berkeley, a partner university. Two will be studying for one year at UTokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy and one year at the School of International and Public Affairs for one year at Columbia University to earn a master’s degree from both universities. Two of the students will graduate from UTokyo and go to US universities (one of whom is the above-mentioned PhD student[1]), and three are the past graduates from UTokyo. One received the Hsun Kwei & Aiko Takizawa Chou Scholarship last year and will go into her second year of support, along with one who will receive the IF Ikuei Scholarship. The IF-Ikuei Scholarship is a program that the Ito Foundation U.S.A. established to open its doors to students who are not only from the University of Tokyo but also from other universities in Japan. This year, a graduate of the University of Tsukuba was selected. At University of Tsukuba, there currently is no scholarship program for those who have already graduated and wish to study abroad.

Through the scholarship program, FUTI will continue to focus earnestly on its effort in supporting and nurturing future leaders and making the most of the precious donations received.

[1] This student has the rare accomplishment of being admitted to a PhD program at a US university after completing his undergraduate degree. When asked about how he pulled off this feat, he explained that he had been actively selling his research to professors at US universities since his second year as an undergraduate student, became a remote research assistant, and worked hard to exceed their expectations, and as a result, was accepted to PhD programs at three universities.