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Preschool Subsidies In Singapore From 2020: How You Can Save On Fees

Wondering if your child is eligible for any preschool subsidies? Do your research early, as there are several government subsidies available, and they can help to ease the cost burden significantly!

Preschool Subsidy

Benefits (Per Child)

Criteria

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Basic Subsidy

S$600 (full-day infant care, both parents working), S$300 (full-day childcare, both parents working), or S$150 (for non-working mothers).

Child must be enrolled in a centre licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)
Mothers or single fathers are considered to be working if they work at least 56 hours per month, which is around 2 days of work per week. This includes full-/part-time and freelance work arrangements.

Non-working mothers may apply for higher subsidy support if they are in the midst of seeking employment or are unable to work due to medical reasons or caregiving commitments (e.g. caring for sick/special needs family members or a younger child aged 24 months and below).

Additional Subsidy

S$710 (max subsidy for full-day infant care, both parents working), S$467 (max subsidy for full-day childcare, both parents working).

Child must be enrolled in an ECDA-licensed centre.

Infant & Childcare Subsidy Calculator 

Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

S$170 (max subsidy)

Child must be enrolled in a Ministry of Education (MOE) or Anchor Operator kindergarten.

KiFAS details are on the ECDA website.

Additional Aid

Low-income families with extenuating circumstances can apply for further childcare financial assistance if they are unable to afford childcare fees even after the Basic and Additional Subsidies. 

They can also apply for a one-time grant to cover the initial start-up costs of enrolling a child in the centre. 

Children who are Singapore Citizens and placed in affordable ECDA-licensed childcare centres can be considered for further financial assistance. 

Both parents should be working at least 56 hours per month, or produce valid reasons for not working, such as he/she is on medical leave, under incarceration, looking for work, or has been certified as a full-time caregiver for a dependent. 

Relevant supporting documents should accompany the application.

Eligible families may apply for assistance through the childcare centre.

Preschool subsidy

Preschools In Singapore: More Affordable Than You Think

Forget university — are you already fretting about how much you’ll need to shell out, just to get your children through preschool?

Local parents prepare their children for formal education by enrolling them in a childcare centre or a kindergarten. Childcare centres provide full-day or half-day education and care for children aged 18 months to six years old, with meals included. Kindergartens are for children from three to six years old; they are strictly for education, and classes are held over three to four hours per day, usually without meals.  

Cost Of Preschool Education In Singapore

How affordable is early childhood care and education in Singapore?

Back in 2005, the median full-day childcare fee in Singapore was slightly over S$500 a month. This figure rose steadily year on year, to hit S$900 a month in 2015. However, since 2009, the local government has introduced schemes to help preschool centres put a cap on their fees.

In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit examined the state of early childhood care and education in 45 countries to produce their “Starting Well Report.” At the time, Singapore ranked 21 out of 45 for affordability. 

Today, the country’s median full-day childcare fee is about S$850 per month, with some private childcare centres charging over S$2,000 a month.

Subsidies For Singaporean Parents

Currently, all families with Singapore Citizen children attending childcare and infant care programmes licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) receive a Basic Subsidy. These families can also receive a means-tested Additional Subsidy — if the mother is working, and if the family’s gross monthly income is S$7,500 and below.

For families with children attending “Anchor Operator” (a government funding scheme) and Ministry of Education kindergartens, they can apply for a means-tested subsidy known as the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme or KiFAS, if their household monthly income is S$6,000 and below.

From January 2020, the Singapore government will raise the gross monthly household income ceiling for the Additional Subsidy and the KiFAS to S$12,000. This will benefit an additional 30,000 families, up from 41,000 families receiving these subsidies today. Larger families with three or more dependants can continue to have their income assessed on a per capita basis, which may qualify them for higher means-tested subsidies.

At the same time, the government will also increase the subsidy amounts — across all income tiers — for the Additional Subsidy and the KiFAS. 

Here’s a look at how local families can benefit from these changes from January 2020. For full-day childcare services by an Anchor Operator with monthly fees of S$770: 

  • A dual-income family earning S$8,000 per month (and qualifying for the maximum Additional Subsidy) will pay S$280 per month for full-day childcare services, compared to up to S$470 per month today. 
  • A dual-income family earning S$5,000 per month (and qualifying for the maximum Additional Subsidy) will pay S$130 per month for full-day childcare services, compared to up to S$370 per month today. 
  • Families earning S$3,000 or less per month will pay S$3 per month.
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