Do we need to subsidise foreign students when Singaporeans are in need?

The Singapore government revealed today that it gives S$130 million in scholarships every year to international students.

In 2017, the government also claimed that international students made up not more than 15% of the undergraduate intake at publicly-funded universities. I assume in this analysis the same proportion across all school levels.

Last year, the respective university, polytechnic and schools fees collected were:

MOE: S$217,466,000
NUS: S$483,521,000
NTU: S$349,919,000
UniSIM: S$183,377,000
SMU: S$147,988,000
SIT: S$102,169,728
SUTD: S$34,493,000
SP: S$60,038,000
NP: S$54,129,000
NYP: S$52,403,000
TP: S$48,911,000
RP: S$43,620,000

Total: S$1,778,034,728

I am not sure if the fees collected by MOE include those of the polytechnics, but for the benefit of the doubt, let’s say they do not.

In 2018, the government would have collected S$1,778,034,728 in university, polytechnic and school fees.

If the fees are divided equally, Singapore residents would have paid for about 85% of the fees and international students would have paid for about 15% of the fees, based on the student intake figures. However, since international students pay about twice as much in fees, they would be paying for 15% × 2 = 30%.

In other words, international students comprised about 15% of the student intake but would account for about 26% of the fees (30% ÷ 115%).

A rough estimate of how much international students would have paid in fees would therefore be: S$1,778,034,728 × 26% = S$463,835,146.

Therefore, the S$130 million in scholarships given to international students would cover for about 28% of their fees (S$130 million ÷ S$464 million).

However, it was also revealed in 2014 that the government also gives tuition grants of S$210 million a year to international students.

Therefore, the government is giving a total of S$340 million a year to international students (S$130 million + S$210 million), at least.

This would mean that the government is paying for 73% of the fees for international students (S$340 million ÷ S$464 million).

And this means that international students are paying only S$123.8 million (S$464 million – S$340 million).

Meanwhile, Singapore residents would be paying a total of S$1,314,199,582 or S$1.314 billion, or more than 10 times more that of international students.

Given that there is a 85:15 ratio between Singapore residents and international students, this would still mean that on average, Singapore residents are paying twice as much as international students for university and school fees per person, after deducting for the scholarships and tuition grants paid for by the government, for international students.

In other words, international students are only paying half of what Singapore residents have to pay.

And this is not including what other funds the government is providing to international students.

As such, the Singapore PAP government makes Singaporeans pay for one of the most expensive university fees in the world, while the government subsidizes for about three-quarters of what international students have to pay:

In a previous analysis, I also calculated that the PAP government would give more than half of international scholarships while giving only 6% of Singaporeans scholarships:

Author: Gilbert Tan TS

IT expert with more than 20 years experience in Multiple OS, Security, Data & Internet , Interests include AI and Big Data, Internet and multimedia. An experienced Real Estate agent, Insurance agent, and a Futures trader. I am capable of finding any answers in the world you want as long as there are reports available online for me to do my own research to bring you closest to all the unsolved mysteries in this world, because I can find all the paths to the Truth, and what the Future holds. All I need is to observe, test and probe to research on anything I want, what you need to do will take months to achieve, all I need is a few hours.​

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