Admission of Foreign Students to Our Public Education Institutions

Published Date: 03 February 2020 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Marine Parade GRC


To ask the Minister for Education whether he can outline the criteria for admission of foreign students to our public education institutions (primary, secondary, polytechnics, junior colleges and tertiary institutions); (b) whether there are specific caps on the numbers of foreign students in these institutions; and (c) how are the fees charged for foreign students vis a vis that for local students.


1. Our public education system is designed and developed to cater to the needs of Singaporeans. Singaporean students are admitted first, before we consider taking in a small number of foreign students. Hence, no Singaporean student will be displaced by a foreign student.

2. For example, foreign students seeking admission to our primary schools can only register in Phase 3 of the Primary 1 Registration Exercise, after all Singaporean children have been allocated a place under earlier phases.

3. Likewise, the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) first admit Singaporean students who are able to meet their admission standards. Thereafter, they will raise the admission criteria, and then admit a small proportion of foreign students.

4. In our primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges, less than 5% are foreign students. In polytechnics and Autonomous Universities, the proportion is less than 10%.

5. Fees are differentiated by nationality to reflect the privileges of citizenship, and so foreign students pay significantly higher fees than local students. In primary school, a Singaporean student pays $156 in fees every year while a foreign student pays up to $8,556. For secondary school, the annual fees for Singaporeans and foreign students are $300 and $15,240 respectively. For pre-university, the corresponding figures are $396 versus $19,524 per year.

6. Foreign students at our polytechnics and AUs may apply for the Tuition Grant in return for a service obligation. Those who receive the Tuition Grant will pay at least double the amount of fees that a Singaporean student pays.

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