Parliamentary Replies

October 21, 2011

Number of International Students in Local Universities

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Ang Wei Neng, MP for Jurong GRC


To ask the Minister for Education for the 2010 and 2011 academic years:

  • What is the number and proportion of foreign students enrolled in local universities by faculty;
  • Of these foreign students, how many are not paying full university tuition fees; and
  • What is the number of Singaporean students receiving bursaries and scholarships in local universities.


Number and Proportion of International Students by Faculty

International students (IS) made up 18% of the total undergraduate intake in Academic Year (AY) 2011.

The proportion of IS varies by faculty, ranging from around 1% in Medicine and Law, courses highly popular with Singaporeans, to 27% in Science and Engineering. These courses produce much-needed manpower for key industries but are less popular with talented Singaporeans.

IS provide important manpower support to key economic sectors after graduation, as well as hone our local students’ cross-cultural competencies in the university. As announced by PM in his NDR speech, we will cap the IS undergraduate intake at the present levels; this will gradually bring the proportion of foreign students down even as we expand university places for Singaporeans. This will also facilitate better integration between Singaporeans and ISs.

Number of IS who do not pay full tuition fees

A small proportion of IS pay full university fees, i.e. they do not enjoy any subsidies. The rest are on the Tuition Grant scheme, which helps to defray their fees. IS who receive the Tuition Grant pay fees that are about 70% higher than the fees paid by Singaporeans. In addition they are required to work in Singapore for three years. Some IS are also on various scholarships which cover their tuition fees, but they have to serve a longer bond period of six years.

Number of Singaporeans who receive scholarships/bursaries

The universities, various community organisations and government agencies award scholarships and bursaries to locals for studies in our local universities. In AY2010, a total of around 30,300 Singapore Citizens received a scholarship or some form of financial assistance which helped fund their undergraduate education.

The Government intends to offer more scholarships to locals, to nurture a strong core of Singaporean talent with the requisite skills to anchor our key current and emerging economic sectors, and secure our future. A taskforce, co-chaired by MOE and Economic Development Board (EDB), and involving key social and economic agencies is looking into this and will announce its recommendations in the first half of next year.