Blog General Singapore Education News Financial Help for Low and Middle Income Students in Singapore

Financial Help for Low and Middle Income Students in Singapore

For years, parents have to struggle in paying tuition fee costs for students in Singapore as they continue to increase every year.

The Singaporean government recognises this problem and has announced recently that they will be improving their assistance to low and middle-income students in the country. 

On Tuesday, February 18, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the Ministry of Education special assistance program, the Financial Assistance Scheme, will be changed to provide to all qualified students. 

Some of the changes included are the increase of the yearly bursary for younger students and transportation subsidies and school meal subsidies for secondary school students. The total amount of the new Financial Assistance Scheme will be around $52 million every year. 

He did add that education in Singapore is already subsidised from primary school to pre-university years. You can find out here how you can use CPF for your poly and university education. 

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Primary schools in Singapore are free for all Singaporean citizens and it will cost families $5 per month to pay for secondary schools. Miscellaneous fees are not that high as well. 

Improved Bursaries for Diploma and Degree Holders

Those who are taking their diploma and degrees in the country will also receive subsidies as part of the Financial Assistance Scheme.

Heng Swee Keat announced that full time students studying at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will be receiving a larger bursary for the 2020 school year. 

He said that students who will qualify and come from the lowest income group will now be able to receive 100% fee subsidies on top of their annual bursary. The bursary will also increase up to $200 per year for both students from low and middle-income households. 

These new additions are on top of the improved bursaries announced in August 2019 by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. 

At the present time, around 33,000 diploma students and 21,000 undergraduates will be qualified for this new bursary scheme, including students from the LASALLE College of the Arts, ITE, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development. 

It is also said that 30,000 students are from families under the 30th percentile and below in terms of their income and they will be the ones that will be given priority under the new bursaries. 

When the new bursaries are applied, families that will qualify for it will only pay fees of around $150 per year for polytechnic students from the original $550. University students will only pay $2,000 per year as compared to the $4,200 they pay currently. 

Pre-School Subsidies

Heng also said that pre-school subsidies will also be improved to help low- and middle-income students with their education in addition to the new subsidies they are receiving. 

Last year, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) extended the income ceiling and increased the existing pre-school subsidies.

The extended income ceiling now enables 60% of the households in Singapore to qualify for the higher subsidies for their pre-school students. 

The measures announced in August were put into effect this January, allowing families with a monthly income of $3,000 to only pay $3 a month for their children studying at anchor operated pre-schools.

The subsidy is also at $467 from the original $400 and is added to the basic $300 subsidy. 

The government also extended its support to Government-sponsored pre-school places and it will be up to 80% by 2025. Heng also said that the government will double its current spending for the early childhood sector to $2 billion per year in the coming years. 

In his speech announcing the government’s budget for education, Heng says education will enable these students to grow and reach their dreams in the future.

The investment they are making through the bursaries will support their dreams and help these students see their potential without being held back by their financial status. 

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If one adds all the bursaries students will receive by the time they become 16, it will be around $180,000, plus the $50,000 government subsidies if they enrolled in a full-day childcare run by an anchor operator. We have breakdown in details on the latest childcare subsidies for you.

Other Ways Parents Can Save Up for Their Child’s Education?

On top of the subsidies provided by the government, there are ways for low- and middle-income families to save up on education costs for their children. 

Down below are some ways on how parents can save up. 

Look into local schools or government-sponsored schools

While looking for schools for your children, check what education options are available throughout the country. From your neighbourhood, see what schools are nearby and if there are government-sponsored schools or public schools nearby. Public schools, in particular, are ideal if you are on a budget and still want a good education for your children. 

Analyse the location of the school

Look for a school that is near your home so that your child can easily walk home from school. You can also reach out to other parents to build a carpool so you all can save up on transportation costs. 

Help students discover their passions

Academics is not the only thing your children needs to develop through school. Enrol them into free workshops or bring them to free museums or amenities that will help them discover their love for music, art and culture. The government also regularly schedules free events for children to check. Besides these activities, there are plenty more stuff to do with your child here!

Sell pre-loved items

If your child has pre-loved items like old toys and clothes that are in good condition, why not sell them? It will help you make an extra budget that you can use for their education. 

Apply for Scholarships

If your child is good at his studies, you can consider applying for scholarship or bursaries to help to ease the financial burden on your child’s cost of education.  Here are a list of scholarship and bursaries you can apply to. 

Final Thoughts

Education is our children’s best weapon to help them build their future. Without a stable education, our children will find it hard to navigate through real life because they do not have the right skills to help them build the career they dream of.

With the bursaries and other great tips to save for your child’s future, it is up to us to manage it carefully and ensure that our children will be able to study without stops. If your child is struggling and needs tuition, our rates start from $20/h for part-time tutors for lower primary.

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.