Here’s How Much It Costs to Pursue Higher Education in Singapore

Two students discussing how much it costs to pursue higher education in Singapore

In Singapore, a university education is often viewed as an essential step to having a good career and a decent salary.

However, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree or even a Master’s degree can be costly, and not everyone can afford it.

What are the costs involved and how can you potentially finance your education? Read on to find out more.

Cost of autonomous universities

In Singapore, autonomous universities are publicly funded universities that offer a broad range of courses to cater to the tertiary education needs of Singaporeans. They are also given the flexibility to control their curriculum.

In this section, we will be looking at the cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree in the top 3 autonomous universities in Singapore, namely National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU).

For simplicity’s sake, the costs we are sharing below are the annual fees for Singaporean students, subsidised after the tuition grant, for Academic Year 2022.

1. National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore is the oldest and one of the most established universities here in Singapore. It is a research university that offers a range of degrees, including degrees in sciences, business, medicine, and public policy.

Tuition fees for undergraduate studies range from $8,250 to $14,700 annually (excluding medicine and dentistry).

2. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Nanyang Technological University is a research university that is known for technological innovation. NTU offers a broad range of degrees and it is known for its engineering programmes as well as mass media and communications (which are offered by Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information).

Their undergraduate tuition fees per year range from $8,250 to $17,950, excluding medicine.

3. Singapore Management University (SMU)

Singapore Management University is an autonomous university known for producing undergraduates who are outspoken and articulate as they encourage students to participate actively in class. It offers many degrees, such as Bachelor of Business Management and Bachelor of Law

Undergraduate tuition fees at SMU range from $11,500 to $12,700 annually.

Cost of private universities

Private universities are educational institutions that are not affiliated with the government in any way. However, they are governed by the Committee for Private Education, which controls private education in Singapore.

Some examples of private universities include SIM Global Education, Kaplan, and James Cook University.

For private universities, tuition fees for undergraduate programmes may differ drastically, as they usually work with partner universities. This means that the tuition fees are dependent on the partner universities, as they provide different rates.

The full course fees for undergraduate studies at private universities range from $20,000 to up to $60,000.

Cost of overseas universities

Another option for undergraduate studies is to study overseas. This option is highly sought after and it is considered to be the most expensive option.

Some of the most popular destinations for overseas studies are Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Tuition fees may vary for different universities and countries, but they may cost at least $50,000 annually.

In some cases, tuition fees may even cost up to 6 figures on an annual basis. Other than tuition fees, students who are interested in pursuing overseas education will also have to consider the other fees that they will incur, such as accommodation fees, which may be a huge sum, depending on the city that you choose to live in.

Funding options

1. Scholarships

There are a few scholarships offered by the government you can apply for. These are often offered by various government ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore Police Force, and so on.

These coveted scholarships often require applicants to have stellar academic results and other non-academic achievements. Scholarship recipients will also need to be bonded to the relevant ministries or agencies that they have received the scholarship from for a set number of years.

If you are applying to an overseas university, some universities give either full scholarships or partial scholarships to international students as well. So it is always recommended to check the universities’ websites for these details when you apply for your undergraduate studies.

2. Financial aid and bursaries

If your household income falls within a certain income range, you may qualify for financial aid and/or bursaries offered by the university. Local autonomous universities such as NUS and NTU offer these.

So if you require financial assistance for your university education, do check with the relevant universities and they will be able to share with you more about their financial aid schemes.

3. Study loans

There are a variety of study loans available for local students depending on your needs. Here are some options below.

MOE Tuition Fee Loan

If you are planning to study at a local university, the MOE Tuition Fee Loan covers up to 90% of your subsidised tuition fee (for Singaporeans) and it is also interest-free when you are completing your course. The maximum loan repayment period is up to 20 years for a university course.

CPF Education Loan Scheme

Another popular financing option is the CPF Education Loan Scheme, which allows you to borrow money from your parents’ CPF Ordinary Account (OA) to pay for up to 100% of your university fees. You will need to make the loan repayment to your parents’ OA one year after you graduate.

Bank loans

Alternatively, you can also take a loan with banks, such as DBS, OCBC, etc. Their interest rates currently range from 4.38% per annum onwards, and you can usually borrow up to 10 times your monthly salary, with a loan tenure of up to 10 years.

However, do note that factors such as your credit score will affect your bank loan approval.

Study loans with licensed money lenders

You can also consider taking a loan with licensed money lenders.

In general, study loans from licensed moneylenders are simple and easy to apply. Sometimes, you can receive the funds within 30 minutes. The applicant also does not need to have a good credit history to apply, unlike bank loans.

Interest rates range from 1-4% a month, with a loan repayment period of up to 12 months.

Study loans can greatly ease your cash flow

Most of the time – even for people who can afford to pay for their entire undergraduate studies in cash – most people will choose to take a loan because paying a lump sum in cash can have a great impact on your cash flow.

This can have a negative impact if you need urgent cash for future emergencies.

Ultimately, it is healthy for most people to manage a certain amount of debt, as loans can often help to ease our cash flow.

Not to mention that most study loans are interest-free during your course of study and you only need to repay them once you have graduated – so you can do your full-time studies with ease without worrying about your finances during that period, as it can be disruptive to work part-time while you are studying too,

Most importantly, we need to build up good loan repayment habits and be socially and morally responsible borrowers. Here are some simple tips to keep your finances healthy.

Planning to further your studies and looking for a study loan? Get a quote today from Soon Seng Credit.

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