University fees increased up to 10.5% p.a., govt spending increased 1.4% p.a.?

Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0

University tuition fees increased by up to 10.5% per annum, against government spending per university student increased by only 1.4% per annum?

After writing “University fees up 7% p.a., surplus $1.4b, expenditure up 2%?” (Apr 29) – my regular insider ES sent me the following very interesting information from 1987:-

According to the article “More to be spent on quality in schools” (Straits Times, Mar 5, 1987) – “Government was spending each year $14,400 to educate a student at the university”.

For the academic year 1986/87 – the tuition fee for all courses (except dentistry and medicine at $1,300) was only $1,200.

According to NUS’s web site – the tuition fee for normal courses will increase to $8,200 this year.

6.4% p.a. increase in fees?

Since the tuition fee was only $1,200 in 1987, does it mean that fees have increased by about 6.4 per cent per annum, in the last 31 years or so?

For dentistry and medicine, the fee increase is a whopping 10.5 per cent per annum.

Expenditure per University student: 1.4% p.a. increase?

In contrast, Government Recurrent Expenditure on Education per Student for University was an annual increase of only about 1.4 per cent from 1987 to 2017 (30 years), from $14,400 to $21,853.

2% inflation?

Also, inflation increased by about 2 per cent per annum from 1987 to 2017 (30 years).

So, fees increased about 6.4 per cent per annum, versus Expenditure per Student at about 1.4 per cent and inflation of about 2 per cent?

5% p.a. GDP growth?

Moreover, I understand that GDP growth was about five per cent per annum, over the 30 years, from 1987 to 2017.

Why wasn’t GDP growth translated into more spending on university students?

Leong Sze Hian



About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.