Student Support Policies
1 Financial Support
The mission of the Graduate School of the OIST Graduate University is to provide first-class postgraduate education to the highest international standard. This requires attracting the best students in the world. Other leading international universities at this level provide support for tuition costs and living expenses. The OIST Graduate University offers financial support comparable to that offered by other leading research universities.
1.1 OIST Graduate University Research Assistantship and Senior Research Assistantship (Assistantships)
OIST Graduate University Research Assistantships and Senior Research Assistantship (hereafter, Assistantships) are awarded to students on full- time study in the doctoral program at the OIST Graduate School. A student in good standing who performs research or who assists others in performing research and educational activities is registered as a Research Assistant. A student in a thesis lab after the qualifying exam is registered as a Senior Research Assistant.
During tenure of the Research Assistant and Senior Research Assistant, the student must undertake full-time doctoral studies in Okinawa, unless a special case for exemption from this requirement has been previously approved by the Graduate School. All students who receive these financial supports are required to submit a report monthly to the OIST Graduate School.
The maximum tenure of a Research Assistant is normally two years and three years for a Senior Research Assistant. Students are expected to complete the requirements for graduation within the five-year period. In case of early completion of requirements, Senior Research Assistant is continued for one calendar month after the date of degree conferral, to allow time for completion of matters required for conclusion of the research project (such as archiving of the research records).
Continued financial support for students in the doctoral program depends on maintained performance in study and research, and is based on the provision of satisfactory annual Progress Reports. Assistantships will be discontinued in the event of unexcused absence, failure to maintain adequate academic performance, unethical behavior, or other reasons determined by the academic oversight process to be incompatible with good standing.
Overseas tenure of a Research Assistant and a Senior Research Assistant is not normally permitted. In exceptional circumstances, a period of overseas tenure may be granted by the Graduate School, if it can be shown that access to research guidance, facilities or opportunities overseas is essential to the completion of the project.
Assistantships are subject to annual confirmation of the Budget status and are paid in equal monthly installments. Standard remuneration of the OIST Graduate University Assistantships is about 3.0 million yen per year including the amount equivalent to tuition fee. However, if the Research Assistant is awarded for tuition waiver, the amount equivalent to tuition fee is not provided.
1.2 External Fellowships and Awards
While the University maintains financial support system, students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships. In order to reward success, remuneration provided by the university as an OIST Graduate University Assistantships or Teaching Fellowship including the amount equivalent to tuition fee may be used to supplement external fellowships, up to a maximum of 3.6 million yen total. An OIST Graduate University Assistantships or Teaching Fellowship may be held concurrently with external scholarship on this basis. There is an obligation on the student to report external funds to the Graduate School office.
1.2.1 Teaching Fellowship
The University may offer special appointment as a Teaching Fellow to a student who had been recognized for academic and research excellence by an external award (JSPS fellowship etc.) In such cases payment is made on a fixed-hours basis. It is still necessary to record the teaching activity and hours for the individual academic record. Students applying for special appointment as a Teaching Fellow should apply with the required documents through the online web form.
Service as a teaching fellow is normally paid. This depends on the availability of budget, and the nature of the activity. When payment is possible it is made on an hourly basis for the contact hours and preparation time. Paid preparation time, when necessary, is based on a maximum of 4 hours preparation for 1 hour of contact time. Details of the conditions of service are separately stipulated.
Teaching Fellows are also required to submit a report monthly to the OIST Graduate School.
1.2.2 Tuition Waiver
The University may offer full amount tuition waiver to those who are recognized for their excellence in performance of research work by external awards (JSPS fellow etc.). Students applying for tuition waiver should apply with required documents through online web form. Application review and decision making will be made by the Curriculum and Examination Committee.
1.3 Financial Support in Exceptional Circumstances
1.3.1 Students in OIST Early Program (also known as Gap Program)
The OIST Graduate School offers financial support and benefit package for students in the OIST Early Program. Details of the support provided are stipulated separately. Tuition is waived during the OIST Early Program. A report needs to be submitted monthly.
1.3.2 Extension of OIST Financial Assistantship beyond Five Years
A student who continues to make satisfactory academic progress in the program should be on course to complete within five (5) years. Student progress is reviewed each year toward this goal.
Faculty and students should plan a research project, including submission of thesis, that can be concluded within three (3) years of the submission of their thesis proposal.
Only on grounds approved by the Dean of the Graduate School is Graduate School financial assistance available beyond five (5) years, for example, unavailability of examiners, departure of the supervisor, record of taking childbirth accommodation period during the OIST PhD program.
The student must inform the Graduate School when such events occur, and if necessary, apply for extension with a timeline of completion endorsed by the Mentor or the Thesis Committee. The Dean of the Graduate School will review each case and determine the period of extension and financial assistance at their discretion. Consideration is given to the period affected by the ground so that the student is not disadvantaged by such events/grounds in completing the PhD program.
Unit-funded financial assistance may be applied for on academic grounds, in exceptional circumstances outside of the control of the student (for example, the vicissitudes of science). To do so, students are first required to apply for an extension of enrollment from the Graduate School.
Applications are limited to a period of twelve (12) months only and must include a timeline of completion (achievable within the same period) endorsed by the student’s Thesis Committee.
If the Graduate School approves extension of enrollment, financial assistance may be sought from the student’s supervisor. Unit-funded financial assistance should not exceed that normally made available from the Graduate School, and the period of offer should not exceed the extension of enrollment.
Any further extension requires a further application of extension of enrollment to be made to the Graduate School.
1.3.3. Student Emergency Loan
In the event of a temporary shortage of living expenses or other unexpected circumstances, students experiencing short-term financial problems may apply for an OIST Student Emergency Loan. The Graduate School will assess applications against the policy and eligibility criteria stipulated in the Student Emergency Loan guidelines.
1.4 Commuting Allowance
In principle, students who live outside the campus and need to commute are expected to use the OIST shuttle bus. A commuting allowance may be paid to students who live outside of campus but cannot use the OIST shuttle bus for reasons deemed valid by the Dean of the Graduate School. Details on the allowance are stipulated separately by “Rules Pertaining to a Commuting Allowance for Students”.
2 Travel Support
2.1 Travel Support for Educational Purposes
The University does not provide grants for home leave. However, the University provides travel support for visiting an educational institution. The amount of support will be based on the lowest quote obtained from the University’s PTAs for a round trip economy flight to the student’s destination, no per-diem and lodging allowance will be provided.
However, the hotel arrangement due to flight connections can be considered as a part of this travel support. As long as there is no hindrance to study and the Research Assistant work, it is possible to take paid annual leave or other types of leave during the travel period. This support is available once each year of study. For students who do not yet have an approved thesis supervisor, the travel is approved by rotation supervisor and the Dean of the Graduate School. When students do have an approved thesis supervisor, the thesis supervisor and the Dean of the Graduate School approve the travel. For details concerning visiting an educational institution, please refer to the OIST Guidelines for Student Travel.
2.2 Travel Support to Attend Conferences
Rules for travel support for students to attend conferences and other educational activities are stipulated in PRP Chapter 29. For details concerning attending conferences and other educational activities, please refer to the OIST Guidelines for Student Travel.
2.3 Travel Support for Career Development
Rules for travel support for students to attend domestic career events and other career activities are stipulated in PRP Chapter 29. For details concerning attending career events and other career activities, please refer to the OIST Guidelines for Student Travel.
The Graduate School subsidises one-way travel to Okinawa on one occasion only (for the purpose of initial relocation).
3.2 Transfer Allowance
Transfer Allowance can be provided stipulated in the table below:
Family relocation allowance:
Spouse & Child 12 years of age or older = 2/3 Child under 12 years of age = 1/3
3.3 Relocation Expenses
Actual relocation expenses can be reimbursed up to the maximum level stipulated in the appended table. Reimbursement of relocation expenses can only be provided once.
If a Student voluntarily terminates the agreement within the first three months, OIST S.C. may request return of the total amount provided. If the termination is due to unavoidable circumstances (including family health reasons), OIST S.C. may waive the claim regarding return of the above amount.
4 Student Welfare
4.1 Assistance with Visa Requirements
The Student Affairs Section provides assistance with student visas. Students must have completed visa requirements prior to registration. Students needing assistance must contact the Student Affairs Section at least three months prior to registration dates. Students who do not have a valid student visa cannot be registered.
4.2 Student Health and Counselling
OIST has a Campus Clinic service during working hours. If necessary, the clinic refers students to local health services. Excellent hospitals and clinics are available in Okinawa, and assistance with English and other languages is available.
Counseling services are available as separately described.
4.3.1 Health Insurance
Subscription to National Health Insurance is a mandatory requirement and the cost will be covered by students.
4.3.2 Personal Accident Insurance for Students Pursuing Education and Research (PAS), and Liability Insurance coupled with PAS (Gakkensai and Gakkenbai)
All students are covered by Gakkensai and Gakkenbai provided by Graduate School.
Students needing childcare will be eligible to use on-campus early- childhood education facilities called the OIST Child Development Center.
4.5 Recreational, Cultural, and Social Activities
The Student Affairs Section supports the welfare of students by organizing and facilitating recreational, cultural, and social activities.
Subsidized accommodation is provided for students living in the Campus Housing. All students are expected to live in the accommodation provided at least 1 year. If a student is required to live off-campus due to unavoidable circumstances, such as shortage of housing in the Campus Housing, the University may lease off-campus housing for residence of the student.
Rent, utilities (if applicable) and other necessary costs are deducted from Assistantships. Those who do not receive any financial support from OIST will be invoiced.
Those housing arrangements such as room assignment and contract management are handled by Housing Management Section of Buildings and Facilities Management Division. For further details, please refer to PRP Chapter 25.
This Student Support Policies shall come into force from September 1, 2020.
This revised Student Support Policies shall come into force from April 1, 2021.