School’s Out: How Singapore Keeps University Reserved for the Elites

Scholarships for some

It was also revealed that from 2010 to 2013, about S$210 million was given in tuition grants to international students per year. Adding to the scholarships that the government gives out to international students, a total of at least S$300 million in financial assistance would have been doled out to international students per year.

MOE also said that, “on average, about 14% of our undergraduates […] in NUS and NTU in 2001-2005 were on scholarships [and also] about one-third of the undergraduate scholars were local students.”

If you do the maths, where 14 percent of undergraduates received scholarships, but where two-thirds of them were international students, this meant that of the undergraduate population, 9 percent of them were international students who were on scholarships. Also, according to Heng’s revelation that international students comprise 16 percent of the undergraduate population, the 9 percent of undergraduates who were international students on scholarships, meant that 56 percent of the international students were on scholarships (9 divided by 16). Since local students would make up about 80 percent of the undergraduate population but where less than 5 percent of the undergraduate population were locals on scholarships, this meant that less than 6 percent of local students were on scholarships.

In short, more than half of international students who study in local public universities were given scholarships but only less than 6 percent of local students were able to receive scholarships. (The government does not provide more recent statistics, so a better understanding of the current situation is limited.)

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