Thursday, 21 September 2023

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80% of international students in Singapore’s autonomous universities receiving tuition grants

SINGAPORE — A total of 80% of international students at all autonomous universities in Singapore receive tuition grants while the remainder pay full fees.

This is said by Mr Chan Chun Sing, the Minister of Education, in response to a question asked by Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Sengkang GRC, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, on Wednesday (5 Jul).

Asst Prof Lim had asked the minister about the proportion of non-Singaporean undergraduate students from high-income countries receiving tuition grants or fees to offset their studies currently studying at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and all other autonomous universities.

In his reply, Mr Chan noted that the tuition grants from the Ministry of Education are awarded based on an applicant’s merit rather than their country of origin or income level.

“All international students who receive the tuition grant are required to work in Singapore or in a Singapore-based company for at least three years upon graduation, as part of their service obligation,” the minister said.

Tuition fees for students at National University of Singapore

According to QS World University Rankings, NUS has 8,129 international students, NTU has 6,900 international students, SMU has 2,008 international students while the other autonomous universities do not have the numbers available publicly.

In October last year, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Mr Leong Mun Wai, asked Mr Chan for the number of foreign students who receive tuition fee grants or scholarships at the secondary school and university levels, how many subsequently become Singapore citizens, and how many have performed full-time National Service.

Mr Chan said that the decision to take up citizenship may occur from the time they are in school until much later in life, and that the government’s experience suggests that many do so progressively.

As an illustration, he shared that among those who graduated from university from 2014 to 2016, around 75% of scholarship holders and 60% of tuition grant recipients became Permanent Residents within five years of graduation. Around 10% to 15% converted to Singapore citizenship within the same period.

“These figures include scholars who studied in Singapore’s secondary schools, as the majority of them progressed to the Autonomous Universities,” he added.

“For those who eventually choose to leave Singapore, they continue to be part of our valuable global network, through the friendships and links forged during their studies,” said Mr Chan.

He also noted that the MOE does not track whether these students perform National Service. “National Service eligibility will be in accordance with national policies,” he clarified.

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