How to use the GI Bill in Japan to study

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Flag of Japan waving in the wind.

If you are a part of the United States (U.S.) military, you might know all about the benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers. These include educational benefits to veterans, active duty service members, and their families. Specifically, you may already know how to use the GI Bill to pay for secondary education within the U.S.

But did you know these benefits can also support studies at foreign schools?
Read on to learn how to use your GI Bill in Japan!

Can the GI Bill be used in Japan?

The short answer is yes, you can use the GI Bill in Japan to study!

Military members have been using the GI Bill for decades to study around the globe. But, it can be hard to find information about using these benefits in countries like Japan where English is not spoken. Until now, that is.

Before grabbing your passport and booking a ticket, it is good to know about certain limitations. Schools in Japan might only accept one or two of the five common benefits of the GI Bill.

Application information displayed on a tablet about using the GI Bill in Japan.

Types of GI Bill and how they can be used to Study in Japan

Post-9/11 GI Bill was made for active duty military members who have served at least 90 days after September 10, 2001 and their families. This bill can be used for up to 36 months. It also has a living allowance and a supplies stipend.

The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty is available after at least two years of active duty. This benefit is paid to students directly once a month. Similar to the post-9/11 GI bill, there is up to 36 months of coverage for tuition and fees.

The Montgomery GI Bill – Selective Reserve is similar to the active duty bill. This benefit is paid directly to students and offered only to selected reserve members. This includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard. 

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program for the families of a service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities. There are specific requirements by the VA to be eligible for this program.

Veteran Readiness and Employment are only available to U.S. military veterans. The VA pays the tuition, fees, and book expenses directly to the school for approved coursework.

After checking enrollment and payment information, you may discover that the GI Bill will not cover the entire amount required. There are other ways to finance your studies. The Yellow Ribbon Program is one example. This program can help cover expenses if the benefits of the GI Bill in Japan run out.

Yellow ribbon program

Schools that join in this program sign an agreement and give additional funds which the VA then matches. This covers tuition, fees, and monthly housing allowance.

Unfortunately, not all students are eligible for this program, and not all schools offer it. Make sure to confirm information about eligibility with the correct financial aid officials at the school before applying.

A teacher giving instructions to students in a classroom.

Benefits of Using the GI Bill to Study in Japan

The good news is, that going to university in Japan is generally cheaper than going to a university in the U.S.

You can receive a high-quality education while enjoying the benefits of attending a foreign school. These benefits include cultural immersion, learning a new language, and in Japan’s case, affordable national health insurance. This means more of your GI Bill will be available for nicer housing and better school supplies. An added plus is that your GI Bill in Japan is less likely to run out before you finish studying.

How much cheaper is getting a degree in Japan than in the U.S.?Tuition fees in Japan are around US$6240 per academic year. Meaning a four-year degree program can cost around $25,000. In contrast, pursuing the same degree in the U.S. can exceed $102,828. This makes studying with your GI Bill in Japan a more attractive option, potentially saving students an average of $77,000 in total expenses.

What to Look for in Japanese Schools

You might be ready to hop on a plane and start your academic adventure in Japan. However, there are a few key points American students should consider when looking for the best schools:

1. Check that the foreign university has recognition in the U.S. Department of Education—that way you can find employment in either country after graduation.

2. If you do not speak Japanese fluently yet, a school that offers courses in both English and Japanese would be beneficial. As well as one that offers English support in case of emergency.

3. Application timing is also important! What time of year can you enroll in the program? Can you get all of the required application documents ready by then?

Five students sitting at a table having a debate at GLOBIS university.

GLOBIS University

GLOBIS, with a main campus located in the capital city of Tokyo, Japan is a renowned business management school offering a Master of Business Administration(MBA) program.

If you’re looking for a trusted, recognized, and English-friendly master’s program in Japan, look no further, GLOBIS is the one for you.  GLOBIS is recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and is a fully accredited university by the Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA). Boasting courses in both English and Japanese, you can learn the language while getting your degree. The best part is that GLOBIS accepts GI Bill benefits. If you want to know more about GLOBIS and which benefits of the GI Bill in Japan are applicable, reach out to the Go! Go! Nihon team for more details.

Typical application process

Keep this checklist around when you are ready to apply to a Japanese university with GI Bill benefits.

Read more about finding a Japanese language school here

  • Inquiry: contact the school directly or the Go! Go! Nihon team about any of our partnered universities. You never want to skip out on getting the right help to find entry requirements and more information on using your GI Bill in Japan.
  • Gather the Required Documents for your application: academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and proof of English or Japanese language proficiency. Additionally, gather the documents needed for the GI Bill application. Such as your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) or Letter of Benefits from the VA.
  • Submit Your Application: Complete the university’s application form and submit it.
  • Await Admissions Decision: After applying, the university will review it and notify you of its decision within a specified timeframe.
  • Confirm your enrollment and GI benefits. If accepted, notify the university’s financial aid office of your intent to use the benefits of the GI Bill in Japan.

Ready to start studying in Japan?

Currently, there are only some schools and programs that accept the GI Bill in Japan. However, the list is constantly changing.

Go! Go! Nihon partners with several language schools, vocational schools, and universities in Japan to help students around the globe study and live their best lives in Japan. Contact us for the most up to date information about schools and their GI Bill participation.

To read more about life in Japan, follow ourGo! Go! Nihon blog

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