Scholarships and Financial Aid
No student should be deprived of a chance to pursue higher education. For this matter, there are plenty of financial aid schemes available for students who are not able to afford tertiary education.
Assess your Financial Situation
University tuition fees are highly subsidised by the Singapore Government in the form of a Tuition Grant administered by the MOE. But the subsidised fees can still be quite substantial.
Besides the tuition fees, you may incur costs in terms of living and accommodation. Some universities have provided calculators to help you estimate your financial needs:
Based on your individual situation, you may decide to apply for the following:
Types of Financial Aid
What is it
Who is it for
Fully sponsored education for high-achievers. Comes with additional allowances and guaranteed overseas exposure.
Post-secondary education account (PSEA)
The Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) is part of the Post-Secondary Education Scheme to help parents save for their children’s post-secondary education. The PSEA is administered by MOE and is opened automatically for all eligible Singaporeans.
Part-time employment within (or outside) the universities.
Bursaries, grants, awards and subsidies
One-off monetary awards which can be used to pay off tuition fees or other specified purposes. No repayment required.
Students with demonstrated financial need.
CPF Education Scheme
Loan from CPF OA savings account (can be your own, spouse or parent's). Repayment must be made in cash either in one lump sum or via monthly instalment over a maximum of 12 years.
These loans are interest-free during the course of study, with interest only commencing upon graduation. The interest rate and maximum loan repayment method depends on the loan provider.
All students. 100% loan with interest-free repayment is available for students with demonstrated financial need
For more information on tuition fees and financial aid, access the financial aid websites of the universities:
Why apply for scholarships?
1/ Scholarships perks are attractive
For many outstanding students, a scholarship would be the best achievement after JC.
Most top-tier scholarships offer the following benefits:
Most scholarships providers are looking for these qualities in students:
There are two main types of scholarships available: University scholarships and Organisation Scholarships
Fully sponsored tuition fees
Annual living allowance
Computer + book allowance
Sponsored overseas exchange
Outstanding A level results
Active in CCA and community
2/ Scholarships enable you to study overseas
For some students, the only way to study overseas is to secure a scholarship.
There are many organisation scholarships which sponsors overseas education. In general, these generous scholarships come with a 5-6 year bond. To find out more, explore the Brightsparks portal.
Alternatively there are some but limited bond-free university scholarships available for international admissions below. List is not exhaustive, go to the international admissions page of each university to find out more.
Or refer to the individual university websites
3/ Scholarship programmes groom you into a well-rounded individual
Most scholarships are tied to a developmental programme which focuses on equipping you with soft skills that are highly relevant in today's rapidly changing world e.g. critical thinking skills, analytical reasoning etc
As a scholar, you will also be called upon to represent the university in outreach events, thus honing your networking and communication skills
The only scholar programme that is not necessarily tied to a scholarship is the NUS USP. Note that you need NOT have an NUS scholarship in order to qualify for NUS USP.
Applying for University Scholarships
In order to increase your chances to achieve a scholarship, you should apply for both university and organisation scholarships. The section below is focused on university scholarships.
To learn more about organisation scholarships i.e. PSC scholarships, please approach Mr Chng Yongxi (Talent Development).
1/ Explore and research
Get to know the universities and understand their culture by participating in university outreach programmes e.g. EDventure
Take up a H3 subject that is taught in university so that you experience university education
Interview seniors in different universities and find out more about the universities and courses.
Research similar courses in different universities and determine which one suits your aspirations more
Research similar scholarships in different universities and determine which one fits you better
Type of Scholarship
Who is suitable
Scholarships to explore (non-exhaustive)
Scholarships with masters
All-rounded students with high academic potential
Aesthetics and Performing Arts
Outstanding students in the visual arts and performing fields
Students who are all-rounders
Students with a passion in research
Students with a entrepreneurial mindset
Science and Engineering
Students passionate in science and engineering
Student leaders with a passion for engineering
Student leaders with a global perspective and wish to have global exposure during your university
The list above is not exhaustive. Visit the scholarships page of every university you are interested in to see the entire list of scholarships
For overseas scholarships, see the table above.
You will generally need to submit a personal statement. The focus of your personal statement should be about your fit for the scholarship and organisation. Start writing your personal statement as soon as possible. For more information, access this page.
Most university scholarships applications require teacher referrals. You should approach suitable teachers as soon as possible. Fore more information, access this page.
Application for the scholarship is either together with university application or after application submission. Read the instructions on the scholarship page carefully. Note the deadlines carefully.
Apply for a variety of scholarships to increase your chances of success. Scholarships are generally highly selective and the one that you aspire for is likely to be highly popular.
There ARE scholarships that are not so popular and therefore slightly more achievable (disclaimer: all scholarships are selective). These will include
Scholarships that do not fund your studies completely i.e. donor scholarships, faculty scholarships. So ask yourself whether you really need the full funding and whether your academic grades AND portfolio allow you to compete for the most prestigious scholarships
Scholarships for university courses that are not as popular e.g. it is already very difficult to enter medicine and computer science courses. The scholarship for these courses are naturally much more difficult to achieve. So a question you need to ask yourself is whether you would rather have just a placement in Computer Science or a scholarship in a less popular faculty.
All scholarships applications come with interview. Some are casual chats. Some are group interviews. Some (especially organisations) have multiple rounds and possible psychometric tests for you to take. For more information, access this page.
What to do if you failed to get a scholarship?
Even if you failed to get a scholarship, you could still apply for mid-term scholarships after you enter the university.
Mid-term scholarships are awarded by both universities and organisations and can benefit late bloomers who may not have done so well in JC but have later excelled in university.
The benefit of mid-term scholarships can be the shorter bond period. Also, in university, you may have more time to improve on your portfolio before applying for the scholarship.
Read more about mid-term scholarships: