Around 4 percent of foreign students in Singapore default on their bonds, with the grants given to these students amounting to about S$5.5 million per year, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Aug. 5.
His reply was a response to a question by Workers' Party MP Png Eng Huat.
Png asked about the number of foreign students who defaulted on their bonds, the amount of grants such students received, and the recovery efforts made.
Figure has decreased from S$30 million
Png had also pointed out that around S$30 million worth of grants had been given to defaulters since 2016.
In reply, Ong said this was due to a backlog of such foreign students MOE had still been trying to contact in 2016, The Straits Times reported.
Ong said: "Some were working here but didn't declare that to us, so they became a question mark. Others were indeed defaulters. We put all of them together and it came up to S$30 million still being accounted for."
Ong added the figure of 4 percent and S$5.5 million is the result of MOE having since contacted "practically all" of the students.
MOE takes a serious view of defaulters
Ong added that the Ministry of Education (MOE) took a serious view of such students, given that defaulting was not just an issue of money, but also honour and trust.
He added that foreign students who defaulted on their bonds can no longer game the system and return to Singapore, once they have been identified by the government, ST further reported.
Ong also acknowledged that it was inevitable some students would sever their bonds and added the selection of such students will be tightened, to ensure that they fulfil their obligations.
Top image from Ong Ye Kung Facebook