Photo of university graduates from Straits Times

Despite sitting on a healthy cash balance of more than S$200 million at each polytechnic, the Singapore government is raising school fees for polytechnic students. According to the Ministry of Education, the school fees of the 5 polytechnics and 7 ITEs will be risen between 3% to 7% next year.

Singapore citizens entering the polytechnics next year will see their annual school fees increased by S$100 a year, from S$2,700 to S$2,800. For ITE students, school fees will be raised by S$20 to S$370 a year.

An unnamed education ministry spokesperson told state media that if Singaporeans cannot afford the increase, they should seek financial assistance. The Education Ministry did not justify the fees increase, despite annual reports of each institutions posting strong cash balance and declining government funding. Take the 2017 annual report of Temasek Polytechnic for example, the school currently sits on S$235 million of cash and S$92 million are invested in the stock market. There is apparently no need to increase school fees if the school managed the fund more prudently.

The increase of school fees is in-line with the government’s direction to increase taxes in the next 3 years. As of 2017, a 30% water price hike, 4.2% transport fares hike, electricity tariffs hike and cross-border taxes have been implemented. Coming 2018, a GST hike and carbon tax will be announced.