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Guide To Education Financial Aid In Singapore

(Lack of) Money should not be a barrier to education in Singapore.

 

Singapore has been known to be one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. While Singaporeans can cut back on spending in some areas, education is a crucial investment that lower and middle income families cannot afford not to make.

Fortunately, there is a substantial amount of financial assistance provided by the government and private organisations that can help parents and students relieve some financial stress.

To have a common basis for reference, let’s define the following 2 terms that we will use repeatedly for the rest of the article:

Gross Household Income (GHI): Combined gross income of everyone in the household.

Per Capita Income (PCI): Average income of each family member, calculated by dividing the GHI with the total number of people in the family.

For example, the Tans are a family of 4. Mr Tan earns $1,500 a month and his wife Mrs Tan earns $2,500. They have 2 children who live with them and are not working. Their GHI will be $4,000 ($1,500 + $2,500). Their PCI would be $1,000 ($4,000 / 4).

Read Also: Here’s What Parents Need To Know When Planning For Their Children’s Tertiary Education

You can use these links to jump to the relevant section you’re interested in.

Contents

# 1 Pre-School
# 2 Primary, Secondary & Pre-University (Junior Colleges, Independent Schools, Centralised Institutes)
# 3 Post-Secondary (ITE, Polytechnic & Publicly-Funded University)

# 1 Pre-School

Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

With effect from January 2015, parents are eligible for KiFAS if they have:

  • A GHI not exceeding $6,000 and below; and
  • A Singapore Citizen child enrolled in kindergarten, nursery or pre-nursery (K2, K2, N or pre-N) programmes in kindergartens operated by Anchor Operators (e.g. PCF kindergartens) or MOE.

The table below summarises the fee assistance tiered according to household income, with lower income families receiving more.

Source: ECDA

Parents will only need to pay the net fees after fee assistance, as the money will be disbursed directly to the kindergarten that the child is enrolled in. You can apply for KiFAS through the kindergarten that your child is enrolled in.

Start Up Grant (SUG)

Parents can apply for SUG of up to $240 provided that:

  • Family’s GHI does not exceed $1,900 per month (or PCI does not exceed $650); and
  • A Singapore Citizen child enrolled in an Anchor Operator or MOE kindergarten.

SUG can also be applied through the kindergarten that your child is enrolled in.

Student/Child Care Services

ComCare Child Care/Infant Care Subsidy

The Child Care/Infant Care subsidy aims to help parents defray some cost associated with child care to ensure that child care services remain affordable to them.

There are two different subsidies under this scheme that parents may be eligible for. The first one is the basic subsidy which pays out $300. The second one is an additional subsidy that is tiered depending on how much the monthly GHI or PCI is.  It is recommended for large families (5 or more family members, including more than 2 dependents) to make use of their family’s PCI when they apply to get more benefits.

To qualify for the basic subsidy, parents have to have a Singaporean citizen child enrolled in child care centres licensed by ECDA. The tables below show how the additional subsidy is tiered for different families.

Full Day Child Care Programme*

Full Day Infant Care Programme*

Source: MSF

* The child or infant must be a Singapore citizen aged 18 months to 7 years old and 2 to 18 months respectively to qualify for the subsidy.

ComCare Student Care Subsidy

You are eligible for ComCare Student Care Subsidy if:

  • Both you and your spouse are working at least 56 hours per month^;
  • Your monthly GHI is below $4,000 (or monthly PCI below $1,000);
  • Your child is 7 – 14 years of age;
  • Your child is enrolled in a registered student care centre; and
  • Your child is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (at least one immediate family member must be a Singapore Citizen).

^ If either parent is not working at least 56 hours per month, valid reasons with documentary proof have to be presented.

Once qualified, parents will obtain a one-off start up grant (SUG) of $400 per child, and monthly student care subsidy that is based on the family’s GHI or PCI based on the next table.

Source: MSF

Parents can apply for child care/infant care and student care subsidy at the centres that your child is enrolled in.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Baby Grants In Singapore [2018 Edition]

 

# 2 Primary, Secondary & Pre-University (Junior Colleges, Independent Schools, Centralised Institutes)                 

The money you spend on your child increases with his or her age. However, don’t fret. There are various schemes targeted at lower and middle income families to help defray the high costs.

MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS)

A Singaporean student enrolled in a government or government-aided school is eligible for MOE FAS if the monthly GHI is not above $2,750 or if the PCI not above $690. Refer to the table below for benefits under the MOS FAS.

Source: MOE

A student can apply for MOE FAS by obtaining the application form from their school, or download a copy here, and then submit to the schools directly.

School Meals Programme

Primary and secondary school students who qualify for MOE FAS will receive subsidies for seven meals and ten meals respectively. Primary school students will receive subsidies of $2 per meal, while those in secondary schools will receive $2.50 per meal.

Secondary school students who qualify for MOE ISB and with monthly GHI not above $2,750 (or PCI not exceeding $690) will receive subsidies of $2.50 per meal for 10 meals per week.

You do not have to apply for the school meals programme.

Edusave Merit Bursary

The Edusave Merit Bursary encourages students in lower income families to achieve good results despite their circumstances.

To be eligible for the edusave merit bursary, a student must

  • Be a Singapore citizen enrolled in a government or government aided school, junior college/centralised institute or independent school;
  • Not be a recipient of any Edusave Scholarship;
  • Within top 25% of their level and course in terms of academic performance;
  • Have demonstrated good conduct, and;
  • Have a monthly GHI below $6,900 or PCI below $1,725.

The value of bursary disbursed is as follows:

Primary 1 to 3 $200
Primary 4 to 6 $250
Secondary 1 to 5 $350
Pre-University 1 to 3 $400

 

You do not have to apply for this bursary. The respective community centres will inform you by sending you a letter in the mailbox, so do look out for it.

IMDA’s NEU PC Plus Programme

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) scheme offers students and from low income households the opportunity to own a new desktop or laptop at an affordable price.

The table below shows the PC models available under this scheme, with the payable amount for each of them.

You can for IMDA’s NEU PC Plus Programme here.

Independent Schools

MOE Independent School Bursary (ISB) Scheme

Singapore citizens in independent schools can apply for financial assistance as well. The subsidy given is tiered based on a student’s monthly GHI. The table below shows the income limit and benefits under ISB.

Source: MOE

A recipient of both ISB and MOE scholarship, special award or bursary (which provides part payment of school fees) will have a total subsidy capped at annual school fees charged by independent school less the annual amount of standard and school miscellaneous fee payable if the student were in a government school.

Students can apply for the ISB scheme by obtaining the application form from the schools they are enrolled in, or download the application form, and then submit to the schools directly.

 

# 3 Post-Secondary (ITE, Polytechnic & Publicly-Funded University)

Other than the CDC/CCC Bursary and MOE Bursary, the other bursaries are specially highlighted as they are unique to each of these schools. There is also an inexhaustible list of financial aid and donated bursaries that students of each of these institution can apply for, which you can find out more on the schools’ websites.

CDC/CCC Bursary

The Community Development Councils (CDCs) and Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) administered a CDC/CCC Bursary to relief low income Singapore citizen students of financial stress. The bursary is paid out every year, with the amount the students can expect to receive in the table below.

Monthly GHI Monthly PCI ITE Polytechnic Publicly-Funded University
$2,750 & Below $690 & Below $1,400 $2,350 $4,000
$2,751 to $4,000 $691 to $1,000 $1,050 $2,150 $3,750

 

MOE Bursary

Another scheme that ITE, polytechnic and public-funded university students can apply for is the MOE Bursary. Like the CDC/CCC Bursary, awards are given out based on monthly GHI or PCI of the family.

Monthly GHI Monthly PCI ITE Polytechnic Publicly-Funded University
$6,900 & Below $1,725 & Below $550 $1,650 $2,700
$6,901 to $9,000 $1,726 to $2,250 $350 $800 $1,350

 

You can apply for both CDC/CCC bursary and MOE bursary at your respective schools. For full-time student in courses with duration longer than a year, you can reapply each year. Recipients of MOE bursary cannot be a recipient of the CDC/CCC bursary, and vice versa.

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

Edusave Merit Bursary

ITE students are also eligible to the Edusave Merit Bursary that was mentioned above for primary, secondary and pre-university students. Refer to the information above for the criteria. The amount disbursed for ITE students is $500.

You do not have to apply for this, as it is automatic as mentioned.

ITE Monthly Financial Assistance Scheme (MFAS) & Special Student Assistance Scheme (SSAS)

ITE MFAS is targeted to full-time needy Singaporean students who face special hardship circumstances. Under this scheme, students are able to get $150 per month once qualified.

Unlike MFAS, ITE SSAS is an one-time financial assistance that aims to help students tide over a sudden or short-term financial crisis in the family. The quantum of the award is decided by the school and is usually $100 to $400.

To apply for ITE MFAS and SSAS, you can submit an online form to the college that you are enrolled in.

Polytechnics

Ngee Ann Polytechnic – Foreign Language Grant

If you are a full time Singapore student admitted into a foreign language module and have a monthly GHI of $1,500 and below, you are eligible to receive $150 per academic year under the Foreign Language Grant.

Republic Polytechnic – Student Pocket Money Scheme (SPMS) & Student Emergency Money Scheme (SEMS)

SPMS helps students in low-income families by providing them with financial aid of $150 per month, for up to 3 months per semester.

To be eligible for SPMS, a student has to:

  • Be a Singaporean;
  • Be a full time student of RP;
  • Have a monthly PCI not exceeding $450.

SEMS, on the other hand, is a one-off financial aid for students who face emergencies such as sudden deaths or hospitalisation of immediate family members. The amount disbursed is $500.

To be eligible for SPMS, a student has to:

  • Be a full time student of RP;
  • Have a monthly PCI not exceeding $450, and;
  • Have a recent financial crisis or emergency situation.

Private Tertiary Education

Institutes providing a private diploma or degree in Singapore included in this list are Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) and Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).

SIM GE Bursary

The SIM GE bursary aims to help students facing financial difficulties defray the high costs of a private diploma or degree.

To qualify for this bursary, students must

  • Be pursing diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate programmes with SIM GE and with their classes began;
  • Be facing financial difficulties caused by loss of job, loss of income-earner or medical treatment or condition (supported by documentary evidence);
  • Have satisfactory academic results;
  • Have a monthly GHI below $3,000 and PCI below $600;
  • Not hold onto any SIM GE sponsorship or scholarship, and;
  • Not be awarded the SIM GE bursary within the last one year at the point of application.

The bursary quantum is up to $2,000 and is dependent on level of neediness of the student, and the bursary is tenable for one year. Do note that bursary has to be refunded if the student discontinues his or her studies.

You can apply for SIM GE bursary via SIMConnect.

MDIS Scholarship (Pre-Degree)

The application for MDIS Scholarship (Pre-Degree) is open to all staffs and members of self-help groups, associations, institutions or organizations such as Eurasian Assocation (EA), Singapore Indian Development Assocation (SINDA), MENDAKI, HomeTeamNS, Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), People’s Association (PA), Singapore Armed Forces Reservists Association (SAFRA) and Tamils Representative Council (TRC).

To qualify, the applicant must

  • Be a Singapore citizen who intends to pursue a full-time or part-time certificate or diploma at MDIS;
  • Have good academic record, a good command of English and meet the MDSI entry requirements for the respective courses to be enrolled into;
  • Not be an existing MDIS student;
  • Have a monthly GHI not exceeding $3,500 or PCI not exceeding $850, and;
  • Not currently possessing or pursuing an existing graduate or undergraduate qualification.

The scholarship (worth $5,000) covers the applicant’s tuition fee and a full waiver of application fee. Applicant must also commence his or her programme before the awards ceremony the following year.

MDIS Scholarship (Degree)

Like MDIS Scholarship (Pre-Degree), the application for MDIS Scholarship (Degree) is open to all staffs and members of self-help groups, associations, institutions or organizations such as EA, SINDA and MENDAKI.

To qualify, the applicant must

  • Be a Singapore citizen who intends to pursue a full-time or part-time certificate or diploma at MDIS;
  • Meet the MDSI entry requirements for the respective courses to be enrolled into;
  • Not be an existing MDIS student;
  • Have a monthly GHI not exceeding $3,500 or PCI not exceeding $850, and;
  • Not currently possessing or pursuing an existing graduate or undergraduate qualification.

The scholarship provides for the applicant’s tuition fee up to a maximum $25,000 (excluding non-tuition fee, supplementary exam fee and re-module fee) and a full waiver of application fee. Applicant must also commence his or her programme before the awards ceremony the following year.

Potential applicants can obtain more information of the MDIS Scholarships at the school itself.

(Lack Of) Money Should Not Be A Barrier To Education

Singapore believes that every person, regardless of their financial background, should have the opportunity to pursue their education to the fullest extent of their abilities.

Be sure to take advantage on the various forms of financial support, like grants, subsidies and other financial aid, outlined in this article at every stage of your child’s educational journey.

Read Also: Read More On How A 16-Year Old Singaporean Student Stands To Make $30K From Working During Her School Holidays

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