Thursday, February 9, 2012

NUS proposes tuition fee increase for incoming cohort

SINGAPORE - Incoming students to the National University of Singapore may see an increase to their tuition fees, if a proposal to the Ministry of Education on a revision is approved.

The exact amount of the increase was not disclosed by NUS provost Tan Eng Chye, reported The Straits Times.

A closed-door meeting was held with 50 student leaders on Wednesday evening to talk about the proposed hike.

According to The Straits Times, all three public universities - NUS, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) - generally increase their tuition fees every year, except for 2009 due to the economic downturn.

Fees at NUS and NTU increased by between 4 per cent and 6 per cent last year compared to the previous year, while at SMU, students paid 3 per cent more.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with student leaders, Prof Tan said the bulk of NUS' expenditure goes to paying the salaries of staff and faculty members.

He said: "I think all of us, when we work in companies, we all yearn to see some salary adjustments every year. So do all the faculty, staff of NUS; they also expect to see some salary adjustment. So I guess if we have a modest adjustment (in tuition fees), it is not unreasonable."

But Prof Tan maintained that NUS is committed to ensuring that undergraduate education is still affordable for all.

He announced that NUS will increase the amount of financial aid to needy students by $4.5 million this year.

A large chunk will go towards increasing the bursaries for 1,100 of the university's neediest students, from $4,750 to $8,000.

To be eligible, students have to come from households with a monthly per capita income of about $500.

This will bring the total amount of financial aid that NUS gives out this year to $9.5 million, up from $5 million last year.

Prof Tan said: "The underlying principle is this: University education is a very important component of social mobility. So we want to make sure that our students and our graduates will be able to move up the social ladder faster, and that is the reason why we are putting in much more in terms of bursaries for these students."

Bigger bursaries are available for students studying for medicine and dentistry degrees, but the exact amount has not been disclosed.

The bursary amount will also vary according to the family's income bracket, so that the neediest students will get more.

As parents, you want the best for your children in every way possible. It is especially important these days to give them the opportunity for a university education. A degree will give them a headstart in life. 

To plan ahead ensures that you put aside a regular amount for your child's future education in a disciplined and smart way.

Contact me to find out how you can do such planning now, don't shortchange your children in future.

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