Photo of university graduates from Straits Times

In an announcement by the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday (Apr 29), all six local government-funded universities will increase school fees by up to S$1,00 for Singaporean students. The MOE attributed the cost increase to inflation but did not give a breakdown to justify the increased school fees:

“Since 2010, university fees have largely gone up every year. The fee hikes for local undergraduates for previous years ranged from 0.6 per cent to 8 per cent. University fees are determined by the universities, which are autonomous, in close consultation with the Education Ministry. The universities review their fees each academic year, taking into account factors such as rising costs due to inflation and enhancements to the quality of teaching.”

However, a check with Budget 2018 revealed that the MOE has been gradually reducing subsidies each year. The government funding for operating expenses per student have been reduced from S$21,988 in FY2015 to S$21,626 in FY2017.

The reduction in government funding actually takes the load from the government’s Budget, which in essence a form of levied tax.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund company, Temasek Holdings, have been taking the headlines recently over an undisclosed S$61 million losses that saw a joint venture business in China filing for bankruptcy.

The news went unreported in Singapore’s local media, which just obtained a 151st ranking for press freedom.

The increase in school fees are as follow:

Singapore citizens:
S$50 a year for new intake at NTU, SMU, NUS and SUSS
S$150 a year for new intake at SUTD
undisclosed increase at SIT
Up to S$500 a year for post-graduate programmes at all 6 universities
S$1,000 a year for medicine and dentistry programmes

Although Singapore’s universities rank favourably in world’s education ranking each year, Singapore graduates are not in demand. In Feb this year, it was found that 21.6% of the graduates are unable to find a full-time job within 6 months of graduation. In April earlier this month, a government survey found that some graduates are earning less than S$2,000 a month on a full-time job.

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