The alternative news in 1 day? (part 15) – private university fees

The Real Singapore

Dec 29, 2013


I refer to the article “Nee Soon East launches new bursary to help private university students” (Sunday Times, Dec 29).

Alas – help for private university students?

It states that “The first of its kind Nee Soon East Tertiary Award, set up and funded by the local citizens’ consultative committee, will support Singapore citizens who are full-time university students at private institutions here like MDIS and SIM Global.

The new tertiary bursary was set up in response to residents’ feedback about the financial costs of local private universities, Mr Tay said.

“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to pursue a quality education will be able to do so with the encouragement of his or her community,” Mr Tay said in a speech.

Up to 10 students will each receive about $3,000 from a $30,000 kitty. Details and criteria are still being firmed up but applications will open next June, and more funds may be raised depending on demand, he added.”

CPF cannot use for UniSIM?

In this connection, why is it that CPF cannot be used to pay for the tuition fees at UniSIM?

This may further the elitist divide in Singapore. Do you see any reason why only universities like NUS, NTU, SMU, etc, are on the approved list of universities for the use of CPF?

This may cause hardship and deny the opportunity of tertiary education to thousands of Singaporeans.

Tuition fee loan?

For those who enrol in SIM University, they can apply for the tuition fee loan scheme. However – “The value of the loan is up to 90% of tuition fee payable by Singapore Citizens” and “It does not cover compulsory miscellaneous fees and hostel fee”.

Half of needy students couldn’t get bursary?

It was reported in the media earlier this year that about half of the needy students at a polytechnic were not able to get bursaries.

How many not enough CPF?

Since “You can use up to 40% of your accumulated Ordinary Account (OA) savings, or the remaining balance in the OA after setting aside any amounts reserved for housing or other schemes (if any), whichever is the lower”

– how many Singaporeans may not have enough in their CPF to pay for their children’s education?

What if can’t meet guarantor requirements?

For those who don’t have enough CPF, they may have to borrow from the tuition fee loan scheme. In this connection, I have met Singaporeans who were unable to get this tuition fee loan because they could not meet the guarantor requirements – such as their parents were bankrupts or are over age 60.

Commercial loan interest rates?

For those who are able to get the loan – “An interest rate at the average of the prime rates of the following banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB, prevailing on the first day of each quarter or such other rates as may be determined from time to time by the bank will be charged upon graduation. Interest will be accrued on a monthly basis”.

In debt when graduate?

So, a student who graduates after say 4 years, may be in debt to the tune of at least $30,600 (Arts and Social Sciences), $43,200 (Law), $115,250 (Medicine and Dentistry), etc.

How much we spend on foreign students?

In this connection, how much are we spending a year on scholarships, tuition fee grants, etc, for foreign students (non-citizens)? A few hundred million dollars?

Leong Sze Hian 

*Leong is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, has authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been host of a money radio show, a daily newspaper column, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for Malaysiakini, executive producer of the movie Ilo Ilo (24 international awards). He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors and 13 professional qualifications.

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.