Education in Singapore is already heavily subsidised. To provide further support with education costs, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will waive national examination fees and enhance financial assistance for Singapore Citizen students in Government-funded schools.

Waiver of National Examination Fees

From 2015, MOE will waive the fees for national examinations administered by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board1 for Singapore Citizen students in Government-funded schools. Students can save up to $900 for their national examinations from primary school through to pre-university.

For Singapore Citizen students taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) examination in Government-funded schools, MOE will provide subsidies comparable2 to the amount of examination fees waived for the GCE ‘A’ levels. For those taking examinations leading to national vocational certification, i.e., the ITE Skills Certificate (ISC), the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WPLN) and the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ), full subsidies for the examination fees will be provided.

The measures set out above will also apply to Singapore Citizen students in the Government-funded Special Education (SPED) schools.

In addition, from Academic Year 2015, examination fees for Singapore Citizen students enrolled full-time in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics will be waived.

Enhanced Financial Assistance Scheme to Include Transport Subsidy

The MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) will be enhanced to include a transport subsidy, which will take effect from 1 April 2015. Currently, the FAS provides for waiver of school and standard miscellaneous fees as well as free textbooks and uniforms.

For students on FAS who travel to and from school via public transport, they will be provided with $120 in transport credits per annum. For students in primary school who take the school bus, the FAS will cover 50 per cent of the regular school bus fare.

The FAS for students in Government-funded SPED schools will be similarly enhanced to provide $120 in transport credits per annum for those taking public transport. For SPED FAS students who take the school bus, they are already eligible for subsidies of up to 80 per cent of their school bus fares under the MSF Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) Transport Subsidy Scheme.

Increase in Annual Grants for School-Based Financial Assistance

To give the School Advisory and Management Committees more resources to provide further targeted assistance to students from less advantaged backgrounds, MOE will increase the annual grants provided for school-based financial assistance to $11 million, up from the $5 million currently, for three years (2015 to 2017).

Primary schools with more children from less advantaged backgrounds will receive up to $40,000 per year, while secondary school and pre-universities will receive up to $60,000 per year, up from $30,000 currently. SPED schools, which are significantly smaller in enrolment on average than mainstream schools, will receive an average of $25,000 per school, up from $15,000 currently.

More Generous Income Criteria for Edusave Merit Bursary

The Edusave Merit Bursary (EMB) is given to students in the top 25 per cent of academic performance for their level and course, and whose household income does not exceed the prescribed income criteria. The income criterion for EMB will be raised to a gross household income of not more than $6,000 per month, up from the current $5,000 per month. Similarly, the per capita household income criterion, meant to recognise that larger families often have larger financial needs, will be raised to not more than $1,500 per month, up from the current $1,250 per month.

Top-ups to Edusave and Post-Secondary Education Account

MOE will also provide a top-up of $150 to the Edusave Accounts of each Singapore Citizen student aged 7 to 16, on top of the annual contribution of up to $240. Students above the age of 16 who are still in secondary school will also receive the top-up. This will benefit 400,000 students.

Level in 2015 Annual contribution per student One-off top-up per student in 2015 Total amount
Primary $200 $150 $350
Secondary $240 $150 $390

MOE will also provide a top-up of up to $500 to the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) of each Singapore Citizen aged 17 to 20. This top-up will benefit 160,000 Singaporeans and the majority will receive $500.

Age in 2015 Annual Value of Home as at 31 Dec 2014
Up to $13,000 $13,001 and above
17 to 20 $500 $250

Total government outlay

In total, the above measures introduced for students from the primary to post-secondary level will cost about $250 million over the next three years and will provide further support for Singaporean families with their education costs.

Footnote
  1. These examinations include the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) Examination, Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Normal Level (GCE ‘N’ Level) Examination, and Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE ‘A’ Level) Examination.
  2. Subsidies will be pegged to 50% of the actual examination fees paid by the Singapore Citizen candidate.