University fees increased 7.5% p.a. last 26 years?

I refer to the article “Universities, polytechnics and ITE raise tuition fees” (Straits Times, Mar 30).

It states that “At polytechnics and the ITE, the fee increase will affect new and existing students. At the universities, only the incoming freshmen will be affected.”

For example, the tuition fees for the normal courses at NUS and NTU will increase to $7,650.

7.5% p.a. increase in fees?

As I understand that the fee was less than $1,000 in 1987, does it mean that fees have increased by about more than 7.5 per cent per annum, in the last 26 years?

Expenditure per University student: 2.3% p.a. increase?

In contrast, Government Recurrent Expenditure on Education per Student for University was an annual increase of only about 2.3 per cent from 1998 to 2012 (14 years), from $15,125 to $20,805. (Note: I am unable to find the data for 1987)

2% inflation?

Also, inflation increased by about 2 per cent per annum from 1987 to 2012 (25 years).

So, fees increased about 7.5 per cent per annum, versus Expenditure per Student at about 2.3 and inflation of about 2 per cent?

Budget surpluses?

Why did we accumulate billions of dollars of Budget surpluses almost every year, over the years, and spent so much less on university students, relative to tuition fees increase? (“Budget surplus: $3.9b or $36b?”, Mar 24)

6.6% p. a. GDP growth?

Moreover, GDP growth was about 6.6 per cent per annum, over the 25 years, from 1987 to 2012.

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.