3 Ways To Finance That Much Sought After Degree

Jeff Cuellar



There’s a lot of debate over whether or not a degree guarantees career success. One politician even went so far as to say that it’s more important for Polytechnic and ITE students to get jobs immediately after graduation instead of pursuing a degree because  “if they cannot get jobs, what is the point?” Of course, this comment came from the same guy who said Singapore should consider housing foreign workers on islands, Alcatraz-style.


I’m not saying you MUST get a degree to be successful, but if you check out MOM statistics (see Table 9), there’s not only a 20%+ difference between the employment rates of fresh university grads vs. Poly & ITE students – but a $1,000+ difference in monthly pay as well. But if the same politician knew that you had a 20% higher chance of getting hired with a degree, maybe his comments would be more… constructive.

Whether you’re making the choice to pursue higher education for your own benefit or that of your children, here are your various financing options:



About 1/3 of all university students in Singapore rely on government-funded study loans to pay for their tuition fees. Generally, a study loans cover up to 90% of your university’s tuition fees.

The remaining 10% is paid either by you, or with a means-tested Study Loan, which covers up to the remaining 10% of your tuition fees.

Many of Singapore’s major banks offer study loans, each with varying eligibility requirements, maximum loan amounts, tenures, fees, and interest rates.

Here are some study loan packages offered by banks in Singapore:

Just keep in mind that if you don’t meet the “minimum income requirement” to take out a study loan, you’ll need to get a guarantor who meets the bank’s income requirement sign the loan agreement with you. If you are confused and need help with your education loan, you can get help easily at the click of a button over at MoneySmart.


You or Your Parent’s CPF Account(s)

If you’re an older professional who’s a veteran of the working world, you might have enough to cover much of your tuition fees. On the other hand, if you’ve just finished NS or Polytechnic/ITE, the amount of money in your CPF probably wouldn’t cover a single semester at NUS.

But if you play your cards right (and have treated your parents with a decent measure of respect), maybe you can broach the subject about borrowing some of their well-earned retirement funds to pay for your school’s tuition fees (just keep in mind that it is a LOAN, and you’ll need to pay it back in FULL along with accrued interest at the current 2.5% rate).

Basically, to use the CPF Education loan scheme, you’ll need to apply to an MOE-approved university program within the school’s application period.

You’ll also need to apply for a SingPass with your parent(s), submit your personal details and percentage of CPF you want to borrow, and CPF will get back to you with its approval/denial of your request.


Tuition Grant

Offered by MOE, the tuition grant scheme is something you’ll definitely want to apply for because it covers up to 80% of your university’s tuition fees – and you won’t have to pay back any of it. Of course, you’ll still need to pay the remaining 20% (subsidized fees) but that sure beats 100% right?

Just keep in mind that you can only apply the grant to only MOE-approved institutions. Singapore citizens taking the grant aren’t obligated to serve a bond (unless otherwise specified by the course you plan to study).

Foreigners and PRs however must fulfill a 3-year bond to work for a Singapore-based company after graduation.

You can apply for the tuition grant scheme here.


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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.