Top Singapore universities, their fees and ways to fund the studies

Expat life
21 Apr 2022
10 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

Education in Singapore is among the best in the world. Coupled with a developed urban landscape and the latest technological enhancements, it’s an ideal study abroad destination. Figuring out the cost of higher education in Singapore is important as preparing the correct amount of finance will allow for ease of transition as well as securing a spot in the university of choice. This and figuring out which course to go for is a must-do for prospecting students. Here’s a quick glance at the top universities in Singapore and their fees. 

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Founded in 1905, National University of Singapore (NUS) is a national research university based in Singapore. It is the oldest autonomous university in Singapore and is renowned as one of the best universities in Asia and in the world. QS World University Rankings ranked NUS 11th in the world and 1st in Asia for the year 2022. NUS has 17 facilities and schools across three campuses, offering 2,000 modules each semester. Students are highly encouraged to apply if they meet the academic requirements of the course applied.

Below are the fees range for undergraduate courses per year in 2021/2022.

Student’s Nationality Fees Range per Annum
Singapore Citizens (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$8,200 – S$29,300
Singapore Permanent Residents (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$11,500 – S$42,300
International Students (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$17,550 – S$64,650
Non-subsidised feesS$29,850 – S$161,800 

NUS uses semester-based modules, combining the British method of teaching and using the American system of course credits.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), a research-intensive university, is one of the top universities in Singapore. It has been ranked the world’s top young university for the last seven years among the world’s top universities by QS and is also one of the best universities in Asia and in the world. NTU offers engineering, science, business, humanities, arts, social sciences, and education, and has a joint medical school with Imperial College London.

Below are the annual fees range for full-time programmes for 2021.

Student’s NationalityFees Range per Annum
Singapore Citizens (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$8,200 – S$34,700
Singapore Permanent Residents (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$11,500 – S$49,000
International Students (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$17,550 – S$74,900
Non-subsidised fees**exclude Medicine and Renaissance Engineering ProgrammeS$31,970 – S$36,830

NTU accepts a variety of payment methods and provides multiple payment schemes. NTU also encourages cashless payments for all its tuition fees and miscellaneous charges.

Singapore Management University (SMU)

Established in 2000, Singapore Management University (SMU) is Singapore’s first publicly-funded private university offering The Wharton School’s style of education. There are a total of 6 schools in SMU — School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Computing and Information Systems, Yong Pung How School of Law, and School of Sciences.

Below is the annual subsidised fees range for the year 2021/2022.

Student’s Nationality Fees Range per Annum
Singapore Citizens (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)$S11,450 – $S12,650
Singapore Permanent Residents(in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)$S16,000 – S$17,700
International Students (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$24,500 – S$27,050
Non-subsidised feesS$44,470 – S$47,320

SMU boasts a huge campus capable of housing over 3000 students and provides almost 200 campus organisations which are capable of cultivating great leaders. SMU also funds multiple study abroad programmes and international internships.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is the fourth autonomous and public university in Singapore, established in 2009. SUTD offers seven distinctive academic pillars for students to choose from — Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) Pillar, Design and Artificial Intelligence (DAI) Programme, Engineering Product Development (EPD) Pillar, Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) Pillar, Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD) Pillar, Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Cluster, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Cluster.

Below are the subsidised fees per academic year for undergraduate programmes for 2021/2022:

Student’s NationalityFees per annum
Singapore Citizens (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$13,300
Singapore Permanent Residents(in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$18,750
International Students (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$28,700
Non-subsidised feesS$60,722.50

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), formerly known as University of Social Science (UniSIM) is a university with a rich heritage in inspiring lifelong education and transforming society through social sciences with more than 60 degree programmes to choose from. SUSS is also one of Singapore’s six national universities.

Fees

Below are the estimated fees range for full-time programmes for the academic year 2021/2022

Student’s Nationality Fees Range
Singapore Citizens (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$30,000 – S$34,440
Singapore Permanent Residents(in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$62,880 – S$66,880
International Students (in receipt of MOE Tuition Grant)S$75,200 – S$80,000
Non-subsidised feesS$125,760 – S$133,760

All full-time degree programmes from SuSS are direct honours degrees and can be done in 4 to 6 years. Programmes are offered in professional major and several major-minor options.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is Singapore’s fifth university and established in May 2009. The university is established to provide an optimized upgrading pathway for polytechnic graduates. SIT is a university of applied learning, where students get to learn about algorithms, technologies and laws that govern the universe. Industry-focused degree programmes, integrating learning, industry and community targeted at growth industries, are offered to help students to gain practical job skills and be work-ready.

Fees

Below are the total fees for completion of studies for the year 2021/2022:

Subsidised fees:
Student’s NationalityFees Range
Singapore Citizens S$20,640 – S$43,080
Singapore Permanent ResidentsS$47,160 – S$84,000
International Students S$54,570 – S$113,248.80
Non-subsidised fees:
Student’s Nationality Fees Range
Singapore Citizens S$76,013 – S$158,189
Singapore Permanent ResidentsS$72,550 – S$158,159
International Students S$96,878 – S$158,189

In 2017, about 14000 applicants fought for 2100 places in STU. Most of them were diploma holders with the remainder being A-Level holders.

Other costs to consider

While the tuition fees make up the bulk of the cost, there are other costs that should be taken into account and kept which include:

Miscellaneous fees

Lab fees, insurance fees, health service fees, information technology and library memberships are some of the miscellaneous fees that are required to be paid which may or may not be included in the tuition fees. These fees are mandatory and required to be paid as dictated.
Study materials

You will definitely need a laptop and purchase textbooks and or any course materials(printings and software) required according to your chosen course of study throughout the academic year. We recommend paying for a library membership to use textbooks instead of purchasing. All the universities listed above have stellar, well-stocked libraries.

Exchange programmes

Students get a chance to sign up for student exchange programmes to experience different cultures and perspectives and meet new people at the partner’s university. However, keep in mind that you need a budget for your own expenses and accomodation fees when you are studying abroad. You will also have to take into account the currency exchange rate and set up an international solution of transferring money. Singapore universities accept most methods of cashless payment so which makes payments easier to handle.

Accommodation

If your chosen university is far from home, you probably will find a place that is nearer to the university. Whether you will stay in an apartment or in campus accommodation, you will need to consider your expenses on renting the place. We recommend the campus option as it is cost-effective.

Lifestyle

You will need a budget for your living expenses during your study. For instance, you need to spend on your daily meals and also day-to-day costs if you are staying in university accommodation halls. Students should maintain a moderate lifestyle to meet their budget. Singapore contains many attractions and amazing nightlife but if you do not control yourself, you may find yourself penniless very quickly.

Transportation

Transportation may include public transportation fees such as train tickets or bus tickets when you need to attend classes on campus. You can walk or ride a bicycle to the campus if it’s near enough. Singapore’s infrastructure contains a vast network of cycling lanes so you could go green, get a workout and still make it in time for your 9am class!

Ways to fund your Uni studies

Financing your education is a major budget killer. Many parents would have prepared in advance to help support their kids’ studies but what about those who just made it by and have no funds?

Here are some ways to fund your studies that you may look into:

Parents’ CPF

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Education Loan Scheme is for the payment of tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students. You can use your parents’ CPF savings account to pay for your tuition fees provided they are aged 55 and have set aside the Full Retirement Sum in the retirement account. Do note that it cannot be used to pay for the compulsory miscellaneous fees and hostel fees.

Scholarships and Bursaries

High achievers can make use of their results to apply for university offered bursaries and scholarships. Scholarships and bursaries are forms of financial aid provided for students to assist them in getting through their education, usually for academic merit. They cover tuition fees,lab fees, books, room and board, transportation, and more.

You could also be eligible for a government bursary that covers up to 75% of your tuition fees if you are from a low-income household. Seek information from your school’s financial aid office about the bursary to find out if you are qualified for it.

Part-time Job

Getting a part-time job can help you to pay for some of your tuition fees while studying. You can get a chance to find a part-time job without leaving your campus if your university offers a work-study scheme like NUS does. Besides, you can search for part-time jobs such as a tuition teacher, a waiter/waitress or even a bartender as long as it does not affect your studies. Always keep in priority your education over your income, as failing the course will result in a wasted attempt and not worth the part time job.

Loans

If you choose to study in a public university and neither your parents or you cannot afford to pay your tuition fees, the Government loan schemes (MOE) will be the right choice for you.

You may be able to borrow up to 90% of the total costs of your tuition fees if you apply for a MOE Tuition Fee Loan. You can also apply for the MOE Study Loan and borrow up to 75% of your total tuition fees if you have taken up the maximum of the Tuition Fee Loan with a gross monthly income of S$2,700 to finance your remaining fees.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

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