University Endowment Funds

Published Date: 15 January 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Assoc Prof Walter Theseira, Nominated Member of Parliament


To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has studied whether the larger endowment funds held by older Autonomous Universities (AUs) result in differences in student educational resources, expenditure, and opportunities across AUs; (b) whether the Ministry will consider measures to help newer AUs build their endowments to provide their students and faculty with comparable resources; and (c) whether the Ministry has any measures to ensure that differences in endowments do not unduly affect the quality of education and research across AUs.


1. Our Autonomous Universities (AUs) raise donations to build up their endowment funds, which generate a steady stream of investment income to supplement annual Government funding, student fees and various grants to support university expenditures.

2. Since 1991, the Government has encouraged donations to tertiary education by providing 1:1 matching grants. This was raised to 1.5:1 in 2010 for AUs. For the newer institutions, i.e. SUTD, SIT and SUSS, the Government further enhanced our support to them by granting them sizeable seed monies to start up their endowment fund, as well as more generous matching grants at 3:1.

3. The sizes of endowment funds across the AUs differ today. They depend on the ability of AUs to raise donations, investment returns, and of course, how long the AU has been in existence.

4. Government funding continues to be the main source of funding for university education. Regardless of which AU they are enrolled in, Singaporean students receive a subsidy of around 75% of costs. There is also an array of funding initiatives from MOE and other Government agencies that AUs can tap on, to support projects and research.

5. The Government will continue to support every AU – both financially and otherwise – to provide the best education experience for their students.

Share this article: