Lower income group “very relieved” by PM Lee’s announcement

The Ministry of Education (MOE) released information on the latest enhancement to government education bursaries for the needy diploma and undergraduate students yesterday (23 Aug). This followed what Prime Minister Lee  Hsien Loong said in the recent National Day Rally to increase the amount of bursaries to be disbursed to needy Singaporean students next year.

Come next year, polytechnic students of the the lowest 20 per cent of household income groups will pay no more than $150 of the $2,900 annual fees – $400 less than what they are paying now annually.

At the university level, the most needy students will pay only $2,000 a year, compared with the $4,200 they are currently paying. The full fee for a general degree is $8,200.

Government bursaries for new and existing medical and dentistry undergraduates will also be increased, with the 20 per cent least well-off students having to pay only $5,000 a year – compared with the full fees of $28,900 at the National University of Singapore and $34,700 at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

“The Government will be investing approximately $44 million more per year for these enhancements, or a 36% increase from the current $123 million,” MOE said.

Fees after bursary for lowest income groups drop the most

It appears that the latest bursary enhancements would benefit the lower income group the most – traditionally very good supporters for the People’s Action Party (PAP) government. There would be a drop of 73% (for diploma school fees) and 52% (for university school fees) for the lowest income group as show in the following tables.

Net annual school fee paid after govt bursary (Diploma):

Net annual school fee paid after govt bursary (Undergraduate General):

The media interviewed Grab driver Mr V. Perumal, 54, whose youngest son got into NTU to study engineering. Mr Perumal said he is “very relieved” by the recent PM Lee’s announcement of increasing bursary for needy families.

“Both my wife and I were so happy when our son told us he got into NTU to study engineering. But at the same time, we have been having sleepless nights worrying about the fees,” he said.

“I have been looking at how we can borrow some money. But now, we are very relieved.”

No doubt, Mr Perumal would be very thankful to PM Lee’s government, even though the money actually comes from taxpayers. Certainly, PM Lee would be in the minds of people like Mr Perumal when comes to voting in the coming General Election.