Starting from August this year, the National University of Singapore (NUS) will fully cover the tuition fees of full-time Singaporean undergraduates if they come from households with a per capita income of up to S$1,000.
NUS will top up the existing Government Bursary to fully fund tuition fees for these students.
Full-time Singaporean undergraduates from households with a per capita income of up to S$690 will also receive financial support for living expenses, on-campus stay and overseas exposure.
These measures are part of the new additional financial support schemes announced today (Feb. 8).
Low-income students to also get S$4,000 per annum for living expenses
To fund the new financial assistance schemes, NUS will set aside additional funding of S$15 million per year to strengthen financial assistance for Singaporean undergraduate students from households with a per capita income not exceeding S$1,000.
Both incoming and existing Singaporean full-time undergraduate students who meet this per capita income requirement are eligible for enhanced financial aid.
Students from households with a per capita income of less than S$690 will also receive an NUS Bursary of S$4,000 per annum to help cover living expenses.
The newly established Opportunity Enhancement Grant will also provide S$10,000 over four years to top up existing financial aid available for on-campus stay and overseas programmes.
About 3,300 students to benefit from new measures
NUS estimates that about 3,300 Singaporean undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds will benefit from these latest enhancements of its financial assistance for students.
NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said: "Education is a driver for social mobility, and NUS has helped transform the lives of generations of students since our founding. It is a role we take very seriously. We are committed to providing a transformative educational experience for every NUS student, regardless of their financial background."
He added that though some students may already receive financial aid from other sources, the funding may not cover all of their university costs.
As a result, he said some may shy away from university experiences like study abroad or residential constraints.
"The new Enhanced Financial Aid Scheme will fill the financial gap for students who are most in need of support. It provides additional funding to Singaporean students from low-income backgrounds on two fronts: by fully funding tuition fees and covering part of their living expenses; and enabling access to a more well-rounded and richer university experience that would include an on-campus stay and overseas exposure."
NUS engaging philanthropic support to sustain funding
NUS said it is raising philanthropic support to build an endowment to provide sustainable funding for this new initiative.
It added that some donors have already pledged support, such as Quantedge Foundation, the philanthropic arm of a local fund management firm, Quantedge Capital.
Quantedge Foundation is an anchor donor of this new initiative.
Quantedge Foundation Board member Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin said: "We are excited to seed-fund NUS’ game-changing initiative to guarantee full funding of tuition fees and defray the costs of living expenses and overseas programmes for all Singaporean students with demonstrated financial need.
"This NUS guarantee assures prospective students of a rich, diverse and transformational university experience. This is a major step forward in our continuing push for all deserving Singaporeans to have access to a truly need-blind university education across all autonomous universities in Singapore."
Follow and listen to our podcast here
Top photo via Wang J/Google Maps