Watanabe Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions — U.S. Applicants —

日本からご申請の方は日本語のサイトにて「よくあるご質問」をご覧ください。)

 

 

Eligibility

Question: If I am currently studying in Japan as a degree-seeking student, am I eligible to apply for the scholarship for the remaining years of my degree?

Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply. However, if you are a degree-seeking student we can only award support for a single academic year (September-May). You may in the future apply for a renewal, but at this time, we are only awarding scholarships for a maximum of one academic year of study at a time. Degree-seeking students only should contact the Watanabe Scholarship team about how this works with the Japanese academic calendar.

Question: If I am going to Japan for graduate school, am I eligible to apply for the scholarship?

Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply. However, please note the scholarship is only for a maximum of one year of support. If you receive it for graduate school study, then you can reapply for a second or third year, however there is no guarantee that you will be awarded it again. The maximum amount of support for graduate study is $25,000 per year.

Question: If I am already receiving a scholarship, am I eligible to apply for and receive the Watanabe Scholarship?

Answer: Yes, you can combine this scholarship with others you may receive. However, you can only combine if and only if your other scholarship(s) does not meet your full financial need. You cannot apply for this scholarship to exceed your cost of attendance.

Question: Is the Watanabe Scholarship limited only to students participating in an exchange program?

Answer: No. This scholarship is NOT limited only to exchange programs. The following types of international study program types are eligible for the scholarship.

 

Program Type

Definition

Direct Enrollment

Student directly enrolls in a university in Japan as a temporary, non-degree seeking, international student. Student may select from the full range of courses for which they have the appropriate prerequisites and language abilities. Students must navigate administrative and academic procedures independently, utilizing on-campus offices at host institution.

Affiliate/
Third-party

In cases, where an applicant’s school does not offer its own programs in Japan, they may permit students to go abroad using a third-party provider (i.e. ISEP, CIEE, IES Abroad, World Learning, etc). These organizations often administer study centers or connect students to institutions for study abroad. 

Exchange

An exchange of students between two institutions through an inter-institutional exchange agreement. Students pay home institution tuition and are admitted as temporary, non-degree seekers at the institution in Japan.

Degree-seeking 

A student is attending a college/university in Japan for multiple years in order to earn an undergraduate or advanced degree.

 

Question: Are only U.S. citizens eligible for this scholarship or can permanent residents also apply?

Answer:This scholarship is open to both U.S. citizens as well as permanent residents.

Question: Am I still eligible if I do not come from a single parent family or am not first- generation?

Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply for the scholarship. These are preferential categories, but are not requirements.

Question: Can the scholarship be used for a summer study abroad program?

Answer: No, the shortest study abroad term the scholarship can be used is a semester. This scholarship is not applicable to support summer study abroad. 

 

Application Process

Question: When is the application period for this scholarship?

Answer: We accept applications for the scholarship during the open period from January 1 to February 15, 2018.

Question: How do I apply for the scholarship?

Answer: You must apply for the scholarship using the online application portal, which will be available on this website starting January 1, 2018. Please check back at that time.

Question: Do I apply for the scholarship directly or does my university in the U.S. have to nominate me?

Answer: The student must apply directly for the scholarship, submitting all their documentation via the online application portal by the February 15, 2018 deadline. University offices are NOT permitted to submit documents/applications on behalf of their students for this scholarship.

Question: When and how will scholarship decisions be announced?

Answer: Successful applicants will be notified of scholarship decisions via email in early May (between May 1 – 15, 2018).

Question: If I am reapplying for the scholarship, do I have to submit new application materials?

Answer: Yes, you must submit a new application form, along with the most current documents and materials to complete an application for the current cycle. You CANNOT use materials previously submitted for the scholarship application.

Question: If I am planning to begin studying in Japan in March 2018, am I eligible to apply for the scholarship?

Answer: At this time, our application process is designed for those who are planning to study in Japan from September – May. However, if your time abroad beginning in March will include the fall semester of 2018 (October – February/March) then you can apply for the scholarship to support half of your need for the study abroad year.

Question: If I am awarded the scholarship, can I defer using it at a later time?

Answer: No, you cannot defer the scholarship. It must be used for the academic year as specified by the scholarship requirements (i.e. September – May).

Question: Do I have to already be accepted to my study abroad program to apply for the scholarship?

Answer: No you don’t. The unique feature of this scholarship is that you can apply for the scholarship at any time during your study abroad planning. In the scholarship application, there is a place for you to tell us at what stage you are currently in your planning. Please see below.

– I have been accepted to and confirmed my attendance to a college/university in Japan
– I have been accepted to a college/university in Japan for study abroad, but have not finalized my attendance
– I have applied to a college/university in Japan for study abroad and am waiting for an admission decision
– I will apply to a college/university in Japan for study abroad

You can apply for this scholarship at any of these stages. If you get accepted, or your college/university changes after applying for the scholarship, just let us know.

 

Applications Materials

Question: What is the Financial Aid Certification Form? Is there a required format? What information needs to be included?

Answer: The Financial Aid Certification Form is a document that provides proof/certifies the costs of attendance and direct financial needs of the student for the study abroad term. The letter must be signed and completed by the appropriate school official such as staff from the Financial Aid.

Question: What is the Study Abroad Certification Form? Is there a required format? What information needs to be included?

Answer:  The Study Abroad Certification Form is a document that gives proof/certifies that the applicant’s study abroad is a credit-eligible program and to confirm the program-related information entered by the applicant in their application form. The letter must be signed and completed by the appropriate school official with knowledge of the applicant’s study abroad plans, such as staff from the International/Study Abroad Office.

Question: Is there a particular format for the recommendation letter? Will the recommender receive a prompt or any guidance in terms of the letter content?

Answer: There is no required format for the recommendation letter. The length and format is up to the applicant and their recommender. The letter of recommendation may be provided by an academic advisor, a current or past professor or someone who knows you (the applicant) in a professional or volunteer capacity. The letter may not be completed by anyone who is related to you (the applicant). The letter must be in written in English.

The recommender should be someone who knows you (the applicant) well and can speak to your character and potential to succeed in a study abroad or international degree-seeking program. The recommender will receive additional guidelines when they log in following receipt of their invitation to write a recommendation from the application system.

Question: What is the format required for the resume?

Answer: The resume must be written in English. While there is no specific format per se, the content of the resume should focus on your education, extracurricular activities, achievements, and leadership experience. Do NOT submit a Japanese-styled resume (rirekisho).

Question: Are there any costs or fees associated with applying to the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship?

Answer: No, there is no costs or fees associated with applying to the Watanabe Scholarship.

 

Financial Information

Question: What study abroad costs does the Watanabe Scholarship cover?

Answer: The Watanabe Scholarship covers direct costs for study abroad such program tuition, room and board, transportation, health insurance, and books/materials. Please note, if you are participating in an exchange program, the scholarship will not cover your home university/college tuition.

Question: How do I calculate the amount of scholarship to apply for?

Answer: This scholarship is meant fill the gap between the cost of your study abroad (i.e. cost of attendance/estimated budget) and whatever financial resources you currently possess (e.g. grants, loans, scholarships, savings, family contributions). This gap is also known as financial need. You can use the following formula to calculate your financial need.

Total Cost of Attendance – Amount of Confirmed Financial Resources you Have = Total Amount Requested From Watanabe // Financial Need

 

Total Cost
of Attendance
 ー  Amount of Confirmed
Financial Resources
 =  Total Amount Requested
From Watanabe // Financial Need
$.00  ー  $.00  =  $.00


When calculating financial need for the Watanabe scholarship:

  • Only include financial resources that you already possess/ or that have been secured
  • DO NOT include financial resources that you have applied for, but don’t yet know the result.

If you underestimate the amount of funding needed from Watanabe, and later do not receive your expected additional outside funding, you will not be able to request additional Watanabe funding after submitting your application. Additionally, please let us know the dates you expect to receive any pending award notifications from other scholarship organizations. Prior to receiving the scholarship you will have to verify under penalty of law regarding any outside scholarships/awards you have received to study abroad.  This is to ensure that the scholarship amount does not contribute to exceeding the total cost of attending your chosen study abroad program.

EXAMPLES of FINANCIAL NEED CALCULATIONS

Student A:

  • Total Cost of Attendance (as certified by host university): $18,000
  • Amount of Confirmed Financial Resources: Bridging Scholarship (confirmed) $4,000; student loan $11,000; family contributions $3,000; Gilman Scholarship (unconfirmed) $8,000

**(CORRECT)**

Total Cost of Attendance  ー  Amount of Confirmed
Financial Resources
 =  Total Amount Requested
$18,000  ー  $7,000  =  $11,000


**IMPORTANT NOTE**
The Watanabe Scholarship is meant to remove any financial burden to study abroad. If you are receiving a loan to help pay for it, we recommend that you include that loan amount in your Watanabe Scholarship request, as illustrated above. The scholarship can be used to replace any loan support you may be receiving for study abroad. That way you won’t have to take on any additional debt to study abroad.

Student B:

  • Total Cost of Attendance (as certified by home university): $28,000
  • Amount of Confirmed Financial Resources: RockStar Scholarship (confirmed) $5,000; student loan $13,000; family contributions $2,000, Gilman Scholarship (unconfirmed) $8,000

**(INCORRECT)**

Total Cost of Attendance  ー  Amount of Confirmed
Financial Resources
 ー 

Amount of any additional financial support you are applying for/waiting for results

 ≠  Total Amount Requested
$28,000  ー  $7,000  ー  $8,000  ≠ $13,000


This example is incorrect because Student B has included the amount of the Gilman Scholarship in their calculations for the Watanabe request. Because the amount of the Gilman Scholarship has not been confirmed, Student B should instead remove this value from the calculation and proceed with calculating need as follows:

**(CORRECT)**

Total Cost
of Attendance
 ー  Amount of Confirmed
Financial Resources
 =  Total Amount Requested
From Watanabe // Financial Need
$28,000  ー  $7,000  =  $21,000


It is easier for us to decrease the amount of the scholarship if the Gilman Scholarship does not come through. But if it were included in the calculations, and then Student B did not receive it, we cannot increase the amount they would receive from the Watanabe Scholarship. 

Question: Does applying for less money increase my chances of receiving this scholarship?

Answer: No it does not. This is a scholarship aimed at meeting a student’s full need to study abroad. In cases, where we cannot meet full need, we may offer partial support. You should apply for the amount you need.

Question: Is it possible to adjust the amount of my financial need at a later date if selected for this scholarship?

Answer: We understand that the amount submitted with the application is an estimate. Yes, it is possible to adjust the scholarship amount, but only as a decrease. After a student has accepted the scholarship, and it has been disbursed, no adjustments can be made. It is the responsibility of the student to accurately estimate their financial needs for study abroad. 

Question: What is the average amount of the scholarship award and how many people will receive it this year?

Answer: The average amount of the scholarship is about $17,700. But there is no set amount for this scholarship award. As this scholarship seeks to meet the financial need of successful applicants, the amount varies significantly across recipients.

There is no set number of scholarships to be awarded. And the number of scholarships awarded each year will vary depending on the funds available and the requested amounts. For this year’s cohort (2017-18), we are supporting 21 scholars. 

Do not let any of this discourage you!

Question: If selected, how will I receive the scholarship?

Answer: The scholarship will be paid to an institution, not to an individual.

Question: Will the scholarship award be disbursed as a monthly stipend or as one lump sum?

Answer: The scholarship will be paid in one lump sum installment at the start of the study abroad term to the school on behalf of the student. This means that the student is responsible for making sure that the scholarship is applied to direct costs for the entire study abroad term.

Question: If I have applied to more than one study abroad program at the time of applying for the scholarship what figures do I use to calculate the cost of attendance?

Answer: If you have applied to multiple programs and do not yet know which one you will be attending, use the figures for the most expensive program to calculate the cost of attendance. This will give us a maximum amount for your financial need. If you end up attending a less expensive program, than we can decrease your need and scholarship amount. You cannot increase your financial need and possibly the scholarship amount after applying for the scholarship.

 

General Questions

Question: Can my organization or university post information about the Watanabe Scholarship on our website?

Answer: Yes, please share the information about this scholarship opportunity with your networks. However, please contact the Scholarship Team (watanabescholarship@usjapancouncil.org) and let them know where you are posting the information so that we can track the recruitment.

Question: Will I have to repay the scholarship?

Answer: This scholarship is NOT a loan. It is not something that must be repaid. There are no work/volunteer obligations upon completion of your international study.

Question: Are there any required activities or components that I have to complete during the study term as a recipient of the scholarship?

Answer: There are reporting obligations for recipients of the scholarship during their study abroad year. As scholarship recipients, you will be invited to participate in regional U.S.-Japan Council events in the region where you are studying. There will be one event during the scholarship year that all scholars will be brought together for a leadership training program (e.g. Watanabe Scholarship Leadership Weekend, U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference, etc.). All scholars are required to attend the program.

Question: I missed the application period. Will there be another opportunity to apply for the scholarship to use in the 2018-19 academic year?

Answer: There is only a single application cycle for the scholarship each year. Applications will only be accepted from January 1, 2018 to February 15, 2018. Students who do not apply during this time frame should consider applying when the opportunity re-opens next year, January.

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