AJRC-RSE joint project: 'Financing Japan’s higher education'

AJRC-JCER public forum, Tokyo, October 2017

The Japanese government is considering introducing an income contingent loan scheme for higher education tuition, called a J-HECS, named after Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).

AJRC and the ANU Research School of Economics (RSE) initiated a collaborative research project in 2016 with the Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER) and Ochanomizu University on the financing of higher education in Japan. This is a policy area currently receiving significant political and media attention in Japan. The project is led by AJRC Director Dr Shiro Armstrong, Professor Bruce Chapman, the architect of Australia’s HECS system and world leader in the field of income-contingent loans, Professor Lorraine Dearden of University College London and leading Japanese economists Kazumasa Iwata of JCER and Professor Nobuko Nagase of Ochanomizu University.

The project has involved an academic workshop at Ochanomizu University in February and a major academic conference in October, as well as collaborative research to explore the suitability for an income-contingent loan scheme in Japan.

In June, Professor Chapman and Dr Armstrong published an op-ed in Japan’s Nikkei newspaper further expounding the potential benefits of an Australian-style HECS system in Japan. In August, three former Japanese education ministers travelled to Canberra to meet with Professor Chapman and Dr Armstrong, the ANU’s Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, Australia’s Department of Education and ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans (who was part of the cabinet that introduced HECS in Australia in the 1980s), to learn more about the loan scheme.

AJRC and JCER hosted a public forum in Tokyo in October to debate and discuss the feasibility of a HECS system for Japan. Japan’s Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt both gave speeches to an audience of 180 that included Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister.

Selected articles and press


J-HECS academic conference, Tokyo


Japan’s Minister for Education Mr Yoshimasa Hayashi, J-HECS public forum, Tokyo


Panel discussion, J-HECS public forum, Tokyo


ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, J-HECS public forum, Tokyo

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