TOKYO -- Some major Japanese private universities are taking in more than 4 billion yen ($31.3 million) a year from the fees they charge prospective students for entrance examinations.
It is not unusual for a student to take entrance examinations at more than 10 universities at a cost of 30,000 yen ($234) each. Most universities hold their entrance examinations in February for the school year that begins in April.
According to the Ministry of Education, the average entrance examination fee charged by private universities last year was 28,166 yen ($220). This year most private universities in major cities are charging students 30,000 yen ($234) to take the entrance exam. Dental and music schools at universities charge even more -- about 40,000 yen ($313) -- while medical schools charge about 50,000 yen ($391).
Waseda University in Tokyo, where 43,800 students are enrolled, has accepted applications from 157,000 students this year, of whom only 7,490 will be admitted.
Because the university charges 30,000 yen an applicant, the proceeds from entrance examination fees will amount to 4.71 billion yen ($36.8 million), up 70 percent from 2.76 billion yen ($21.6 million) 10 years ago when each of the 138,000 students taking the exam paid
20,000 yen ($156).
According to the university, the income from entrance examinations accounts for 9.3 percent of its total annual income of 54.65 billion yen ($427 million). The entrance examination fees are the third largest source of income for the university, behind tuition and entrance fees, which account for 66.1 percent, and government subsidies, which account for 12.2 percent.
The examination fees are used to pay for postage, paper, printing and personnel costs.