Children from low and middle-income families will have to pay less fees at independent schools in Singapore from April 2019. A new scholarship for independent schools has also been announced.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced higher fee subsidies and a new scholarship on 27 December 2018, at a ceremony to appoint 66 new principals. These new measures aim to increase diversity at top schools.
School fees reduced for low income students
Currently, school fees at independent schools cost between S$3,600 and S$6,600 each year, while school fees at Government and Government-aided schools cost between S$300 and S$396.
In his speech, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said, “Today, regardless of family background, students who do well in PSLE or qualify for Direct School Admission (DSA) do look forward to the opportunity to study in a popular independent school.”
“One potential impediment is the cost of attending independent schools.”
Mr Ong also revealed that 7.5% of students living in HDB 1-2-3 room flats made it into the top 20% in the PSLE.
“These students are eligible for the popular secondary schools even those with the most stringent entry criteria. We should ensure that they are not held back to attend the school of their choice.”
The new subsidies apply to these 8 independent schools in Singapore – Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Hwa Chong Institution, Methodist Girls’ School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Raffles Girls’ School, Raffles Institution, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and St Joseph’s Institution; and two specialised independent schools – NUS High School and the School of Science and Technology.”
Fees for students from households with a per capita income of $690 and below (or gross monthly household income of up to $2,750) are already fully subsidised now.
“But those above this income tier pay a percentage of the independent school fees. To illustrate, a student from a middle-income family with gross monthly household income of between $4,000 and $6,900, pays 30% of school fees in independent schools. This can still come up to over a thousand dollars per year which is not a small sum.
“We will increase our subsidy level for such students. To illustrate, students from the lowest income tier continue to pay zero fees. As for the student I mentioned earlier from the middle-income family who used to pay over a thousand dollars per year today, he will now pay 1.5 times the fees of Government and Government-Aided Schools, which is about $450 a year.”
New UPLIFT scholarship for Independent schools
MOE will also introduce an UPLIFT scholarship for independent school students from low-income families.
Mr. Ong revealed that, “We will implement a new UPLIFT Scholarship for Independent Schools, to further help students from lower income families, especially with out-of-pocket expenses.”
“This scholarship will complement the Independent School Bursary, and consists of a cash award of $800 per annum to help offset the out-of-pocket expenses for students from lower income households.” These expenses include those for equipment for CCAs, or student-initiated projects or activities.
“This scholarship will be offered to lower income students who are admitted to independent schools, and have performed well in PSLE or demonstrated talents to qualify for DSA.”
“Through these additional financial assistance, all students, regardless of family income or background, can and should aspire to an education in a school of their choice, and need not worry about the cost of education.”
“These are significant steps we are taking to enhance the diversity of our independent schools, while preserving their meritorious culture.”
Also READ: List of scholarships in Singapore for primary and secondary school students