Full-paying foreign students vs those receiving tuition grants and scholarships

Published Date: 02 November 2020 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies


Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim, Sengkang GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (a) what is the current ratio of foreign recipients of tuition grants versus foreign recipients of scholarships versus full-paying foreign students in our autonomous universities; (b) what is the average post-graduation income for the former two categories versus full-paying foreign students; and (c) what is the ratio of graduates from each category who have gone on to secure permanent residency and citizenship status.


1. The number of international students in our Autonomous Universities (AUs) who receive undergraduate scholarships and tuition grants form less than 10% of each intake. In addition, some international students at the undergraduate level do not take up tuition grants and pay full fees.

2. On average over the past three years, the proportion of international students on tuition grant only, those on a combination of tuition grant and scholarships, and those who are full-fee paying stands at about 60%, 25% and 15% respectively.

3. Recipients of tuition grant and scholarships are required to work in Singapore after they graduate as part of their bond obligations. Based on our surveys, the median gross starting salaries of international students with tuition grants and scholarships are comparable to that of undergraduates as a whole. We do not track the salaries of full-fee paying international students as a specific group.

4. Most international students have sunk roots in Singapore. Based on the data for the graduation cohorts of 2012 to 2014, about 75% of scholarship holders and 60% of tuition grant recipients have been granted permanent residency. Around 10-15% of them convert to citizenship within 5 years of graduation. We do not track PR or citizenship status for full-fee paying international students. For those who eventually choose to leave Singapore, they continue to be part of our valuable global network, through the friendships and links forged during their studies.

5. This is like Singaporeans who have studied in overseas universities who retain ties to their universities and countries of study when they return to Singapore. Some of our Singaporean students may also have received financial support from their overseas universities or foundations. We also have several foreign universities who run programmes from campuses in Singapore, catering to both foreign and local students. These programmes also contribute to Singapore's attractiveness as a place for international educational exchanges, and enable our AUs to remain connected to this global education network.

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