The nation might be small but the scene gets really big when it comes to education opportunities in Singapore. Recognized as a “Global Schoolhouse,” this island nation is famous for its universities and student friendly climate. With its name featuring pretty regularly in global surveys on research and innovation, Singapore lays a great emphasis on maintaining the highest standards of teaching, and scientific research. It may be a small country, but scope for higher education in Singapore is significant.
Singapore is indeed a place to explore a range of courses – from engineering, medicine, life sciences, arts, hotel management, business, IT, banking, telecommunications, marketing, healthcare to animation. Students have to pass one or more additional tests before they can be considered by most universities for admission. These range from the standardised graduate and college admission tests such as GRE, GMAT and SAT to English Language tests such as TOEFL and IELTS.
The educational cost for undergraduate students comes to around INR 12-20 lakhs per year. This depends on the program and the university chosen. The tuition fee would be as much as INR 7,19,307 (SGD 15,000) per year. An international student in Singapore spends, on average, about S$750 to S$2,000 a month on living expenses.
Most institutions have their own fixed rules and guidelines about their international students working on part-time jobs. As per the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of the Singapore Government during term time, international students cannot work for more than 16 hours a week. Anything more than 16 hours a week requires a special work permit.If you are a foreign student or trainee coming to Singapore under a training attachment programme, you should be holding a Training Work Permit, a Training Employment Pass, or be in the Work Holiday Programme. It is an offence for a foreign student to work in Singapore without a valid work pass.
Students from India who have secured admission to selected educational institutions for higher studies in Singapore are eligible to apply for Education Loan.The minimum loan amount students can apply is SGD 20,000 and the maximum is up to 100% of the student’s (borrowers) tuition fees.
Even though Singapore is geographically small, there are a lot of jobs available for international students. As per the Government of Singapore, the following industries are currently booming in the country – Manufacturing, Construction, Tourism and Retail, Healthcare and Finance Information Communications and Digital Media.As an international student who has completed his/her graduation from a select university in Singapore, you will be allowed to apply for a ‘Long Term Visit Pass’ which will enable you to stay in Singapore for a maximum period of 1 year even if you don’t have a job. This gives students an additional year to seek employment. Once you find a job, you will need to obtain a ‘Work Pass’ of one form or the other to work in Singapore.
You would be eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residence once you start earning at least SGD 3,000 per month. Processing time for PR is only 73 days.
Cost of Education in Singapore
Not just studying in Singapore, but moving to a different country for your education comes with a whole lot of baggage and planning. Expenditure is one of the core aspects to look into since the economies of countries are highly variable, especially in an economically flourishing country like Singapore. The student must be sure beforehand that he/she can conveniently afford the minimum living costs of the place along with the college fee. Thus, to make the process easier, we’ve compiled our research to present estimated costs of studying in Singapore, so that the student can move on to focus on the next step of their stay in the country.
This is going to be the primary expenditure a student has to face and will probably be one of the highest they come across. Although the amount of tuition fee would largely depend on the course and the university, along with any scholarships granted to the applicant. Anyone who’s already gotten into a college would be aware of the fee structure, and anyone planning to apply to should look into its tuition fee before concluding.
A Bachelor’s in Engineering (or other specialized programs) could cost an estimate of S$ 30,000 in Singapore’s top universities like NTU and NSU. As usual, MBA stands to be one of the most expensive courses at S$ 60,000 per annum. There are also some additional costs required such as the Student Development Fee. Students should keep aside S$ 400 – 800 for other university costs each month.
Similar to most countries, generalized courses such as humanities and education courses are cheaper whereas specialized courses such as engineering and medicine are likely to be relatively more expensive. Similarly, post-graduate courses are much more expensive than undergraduate courses on a per annum scale but shorter in duration. It is highly recommended to also apply for scholarships, you never know when you get lucky!
It is best to consult a counsellor regarding the student visa process as it must not fiddled with. A valid student comes with its own costs and can cost anywhere around S$ 30.
It is preferable that students, especially international ones, opt for on-campus accommodation facilities. It is not only much more affordable, but it would be much easier for you to connect with those around you as well as suit your educational requirements. Being around both international and native students from similar courses will enhance social life, bring you easy help and allow you to settle conveniently in a country you are absolutely clueless about – in short, it’s a great way to make friends quickly!
The only challenge posed is that not everyone would get to have access to this facility, which is primarily decided either based on score or a first-cum-first-serve basis. It is essential to book a slot for yourself as early as possible, which should cost around S$ 210 – 320.
If a student desires to live off-campus, you can either rent a room or an entire apartment. Renting a room should cost around S$ 500 – 1000 per month whereas renting an entire apartment costs S$ 2,200 – 3,000. These charges can greatly vary based on the city one moves to so it’s also important to look at the city’s cost of living carefully to get a better idea.
Living expenses cover a variety of sub-categories but essentially refer to all things that you need to survive in a city such as food, transportation, toiletries, social activities etc. It is a good practice to set a budget beforehand and document each expense so as to not overspend. Singapore is one of the most expensive in Asia – which should speak loads about its cost of living.
Some special segments of these costs include taking into consideration communication expenses, books and supplies, and personal expenses and incidentals. Most international students will be calling back home; thus, it is important to segment and keep money aside for phone bills and data expenses. Most international communication can happen via the internet to avoid additional charges.
Books are fairly expensive – In the digital world, people can try obtaining pdfs of assigned books or alternatives, get them printed or but shared books with college mates to cut down on the expenditure further, if needed. Personal expenditure is a direct by-product of the kind of lifestyle the student chooses to live, and shall solely be decided by you.
A breakdown of costs in SGD is enlisted below:
· Internet monthly tariff (40)
· Call rates per minute (0.2)
· Books and Stationery (150)
· Food and Drinks (400-600)
· Miscellaneous (150-200)
An outline into transportation: Students generally have two options – either the college provides a shuttle services to and fro or the student would use public transportation
Transportation would be both short distance (regional trains, buses and subways) and long distance (buses, railways and flights). For short-distance travel, it is best to sign up for monthly passes which can be fairly cheap. Short distance commuting should have a place of about S$ 100 – 150 per month in the budget, when you stick to buses and rail. A buffer amount should be kept for long-distance travel occasionally.
Health insurance is a mandatory, so don’t even plan to skip on this. Enrolling for a medical insurance is priced an approximate of S$ 202, and is the student’s sole responsibility.
Most college students prefer working part-time, alongside their education, to ease the burden of expenses. Unlike European and American countries, student income earned from part-time jobs is generally not taxable. In only extreme high-earning students may be liable to pay taxes after a certain income level.
The budgeting process involved varies on a lot of factors and there will be a high influx based on exchange rate variations. This makes a part-time job and scholarships a must during your stay in Singapore.
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Satyam is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore ( 2005) and IIT Delhi 2003. He was first runner up at Lead India , an initiative by Times of India to find future impact leaders of India. After a 4 year stint with American Express, Satyam joined Michael and Susal Dell Foundation to take his passion to profession.
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