Parents, did you know that polytechnic or Institute of Technical Education (ITE) fees can be much more expensive than junior college fees? We have heard that some parents are not aware of the differences in school fees for post-secondary institutions, and have been caught off guard when the bill arrives!
If you are concerned about being able to afford school fees past the secondary years, our advice is to start reading up on financial aid options while your child is still in secondary school.
To begin, you can use the Ministry of Education’s School Fees tool to check the school fees for any post-secondary institution, i.e. junior colleges, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education, and the Millennia Institute.
For Singapore universities, you will have to visit the respective websites to view fees for the courses that your child is interested in.
Below are the institutions that Singapore students typically enrol in after secondary school, and how much they might cost in 2022:
|Post-Secondary Education Institution
|Estimated Fee (for Singapore Citizens)
|Junior College (government, government-aided)
|S$33 (maximum monthly fee)
|Junior College (independent)
|S$300-600 (monthly fee)
|S$33 (maximum monthly fee)
|S$3,000 (annual fee, full-time diploma course)
|Nitec Diploma (ITE)
|S$430 (annual fee)
|Higher Nitec Diploma (ITE)
|S$590 (annual fee)
|Technical Engineering Diploma (ITE)
|S$3,000 (annual fee)
|Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts (ITE)
|S$3,310 (annual fee)
Think you might need financial help to afford the above fees? Read on to find out where you can turn to for support!
What You Should Know About Tuition Grants in Singapore
In Singapore, tertiary education for locals is highly subsidised under the Ministry of Education’s Tuition Grant scheme.
For instance, a Singapore student enrolling in a full-time diploma course at a local polytechnic in 2022 will pay S$3,000 a year, while permanent residents and international students who qualify for the grant will pay S$6,200 and S$11,400 a year respectively, with conditions attached.
All Singapore citizens are automatically awarded this tuition grant, so there is no application process, apart from a form to sign if requested. Furthermore, there are no obligations (e.g. bonds) to carry out after graduation.
Courses at the following institutions are subsidised by the MOE Tuition Grant:
1. Autonomous Universities
3. Arts & Other Institutions
Click on the above links to view the fee structure for each school.
Parents should also note that if Singapore citizens decide to withdraw from a subsidised course halfway, no repayment is required. (You can read about other situations, such as course transfers for diploma students and university undergraduates, on the MOE website.)
Financial Assistance & Scholarships after Secondary School
For families who need more support to cover post-secondary school fees, what options are there?
We understand that for some parents, sifting through information can be overwhelming. If this is the case, do get advice from the student welfare officer at your child’s current school, or contact an organisation such as ComCare.
Prefer to do your own research? Here are some avenues that you can explore:
Financial Assistance for Independent Junior Colleges
Independent junior colleges usually have various financial assistance programmes in place. For details, visit these pages:
Edusave and Post-Secondary Education Accounts
You might be familiar with the Edusave account, which is created automatically for Singapore students, with funds contributed by the government until a child leaves secondary school. These funds are intended to help families with their education expenses.
Although junior college and Millennia Institute students will no longer receive Edusave annual contributions or top-ups, they can still use any remaining Edusave funds for approved fees and enrichment programmes organised by their schools.
You should also check if your child (or your child’s sibling) has a Post-Secondary Education Account, where funds can be used for tertiary fees.
CPF Education Loan Scheme
This is a loan scheme that allows you to use your CPF Ordinary Account savings to pay for your child’s tuition fees. Only full-time, subsidised diploma/degree courses at approved institutions are covered under this scheme.
Find out more about the CPF Education Loan Scheme here.
MOE Tuition Fee Loan & Study Loan
Students in polytechnics and autonomous universities can apply for the MOE Tuition Fee Loan to cover a certain percentage of their tuition fee. Households with a monthly per capita income of S$2,700 or less can also apply for the MOE Study Loan to finance the remaining fees.
Find out more about these MOE loans here.
MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy
This scheme is for Malay families whose monthly household per capita income is S$2,000 or less, to help cover tuition fees at tertiary institutions. If your child has a double-barrelled race such as ‘Malay-Indian’ or ‘Malay-Chinese,’ he/she is also eligible for the scheme.
Find out more about the MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy here.
Other Financial Aid
If you are enquiring directly with post-secondary institutions, do ask about the Higher Education Bursary or the Higher Education Community Bursary, and whether your family is eligible.
To see real-life examples, you can refer to Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s financial aid guide, which illustrates how families with household incomes of S$4,000 or less can combine different sources of aid — e.g. MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy + Higher Education Community Bursary — to afford the tuition fees.
Do also bookmark the MOE’s financial assistance resource page, which you can use as a starting point for exploring aid options offered by different institutions. As support schemes are subject to change, we recommend that you check directly with schools or the MOE for the most accurate and updated information.
Finally, if your teens are performing well academically, you should check if there are scholarships that they can qualify for. Here are some scholarship pages to browse:
To plan even further ahead, you can use a resource such as BrightSparks to look for university scholarships that your teens might be interested in. Alternatively, join the conversation on our university scholarships discussion thread to get advice from KSP members!