MOE spent $130M annually on foreign student scholarships and funding in 2014-2018

PHOTO: Screengrab from Gov.sg YouTube channel

SINGAPORE — From 2014 to 2018, the Ministry of Education (MOE) spent $130 million annually on scholarships and other forms of financial aid given to foreign students studying in Singapore schools and universities.

In a written response to a parliamentary question from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera on Monday (8 July), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung noted that the amount was 1 per cent of MOE’s annual budget of $13 billion.

“For those international students on scholarships, their academic performance is closely monitored every semester, and the scholarship would be withdrawn if the scholar’s performance is not satisfactory. Additionally, international students on scholarships at the Autonomous Universities are also obliged to work in a Singapore entity for up to six years after graduation,” said Ong.

Some of these students eventually apply for and are granted Permanent Residency, and some may also take up citizenship.

Every education system in the world will provide some support to international students, and Singaporeans are also benefitting from foreign sponsorships for their studies, Ong noted.

International students generally receive less funding than local students, and most of MOE's spending goes to supporting the education of Singapore citizens, he added.

As of June 2018, there were some 65,000 foreign students in Singapore, according to official figures.

Almost 6,000 foreign students successfully applied for PR status from the years 2008-2017, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Josephine Teo revealed in a parliamentary sitting in February 2018. This represented a success rate of 8 in 10 students.

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