Debts undertaken by Autonomous Universities

Published Date: 02 November 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms He Ting Ru, Sengkang GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (a) what support or oversight does the Ministry provide to autonomous universities (AUs) which issue bonds such as the recent sustainability bond issued by Nanyang Technological University or taking on substantial indebtedness; and (b) what are the framework or restrictions on keeping debt levels sustainable for the AUs.


1. Our Autonomous Universities (AUs) are funded substantially by the Government for their operating and capital costs.

2. They may also from time-to-time borrow from the capital market to finance additional initiatives that complement those funded by the Government, to advance their mission in education, research, innovation and enterprise. The Board of Trustees (BOT) appointed by MOE exercises fiduciary duties, including oversight of investment strategies, internal audit, and risk management. Any major decision on finances will have to be approved by the BOT or a finance committee appointed by the BOT, which would include members with the requisite finance expertise.

3. In the case of NTU, the decision to issue the sustainability-linked bond was approved by its BOT, and the borrowing will go towards the financing of projects to support NTU's corporate and sustainability goals.

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