Parliamentary Replies

August 05, 2019

Per-Undergraduate Annual Expenditure

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Assoc Prof Walter Theseira, Nominated Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what is the average per-undergraduate student annual expenditure on teaching and educational services broken down by faculty/school for each of the autonomous universities; and (b) what is the breakdown of the source of such expenditure by tuition revenue, government grant and endowment income.

Response

1. Expenditure for undergraduate education varies across the Autonomous Universities (AUs) and course clusters, depending on factors such as the education model and pedagogy, faculty-to-student ratio for the courses, and the capital costs involved in delivering the course. Courses with better faculty-to-student ratios include the law programmes, while courses with higher capital costs include laboratory-based programmes like computing, science and engineering.

2. For similar courses, MOE does not vary our funding to AUs based on their expenditure. Instead, we establish a per-student cost norm for similar courses across universities and fund programmes based on these norms. This approach encourages cost discipline across our AUs even as they strive to deliver high quality undergraduate education. Overall, the average government funding for operating expenses per undergraduate in FY2019 is around $22,000.

3. Government grants continue to be the main source of funding for university education. Students generally pay around 25% of the cost of education. The AUs tap on income from endowment, which is built up with government matching, to supplement government funding for their programmes.