How much did we subsidise tertiary education?
In my article yesterday, the British universities are charging EU and their own citizens a flat fee of 3,290 pounds and international students at 21,400 pounds. In our case, we charge our citizens $7000 against $11,000 for international students. Two points to make from this comparison. The cost of education in British universities are much cheaper than ours as relatively their cost of living are higher. The second point is that they make international students pay 7 times what their citizens paid. This means that if the cost of education is double what their citizens are paying, guessing only, then each international students could be subsidizing 50% of the tuition fee of 5 UK/EU students. It is a case of looking after their citizens first. Let's take a look at the tuition cost and subsidies as published by the NUS website. For an Arts and Social Science course, the grant or subsidy is $19,000. This plus the $7,000 fee the students are paying will make up the full tuition cost, ie $26,000. And if we apply the same formula for the cost of education in the UK, the British are actually charging international students the full fees, with practically no subsidies. What about our international students. If the full cost is $26,000 and our international students are paying $11,000, then they should be receiving a subsidy of $15,000. According to the NUS website, the full fee for international students is $30,000 and they too get a $19,000 grant. I am not going to quibble why the full fee between citizen and non citizen has a $4,000 difference. But why do we need to offer international students a $19,000 grant? Could we charge international students a little more to subsidise our local students like what the British are doing? Of course we can't charge them the same 21,400 pounds or about $42,800 pa. We may also be world class but no foreigners will want to pay the same for a Singapore education if they could get a British one. Still we could raise it to maybe $15,000 or $20,000 if our education is really world class, and at a 50% discount to what the British universities are charging, it must still be a bargain. We could then charge our citizens much lesser, subsidised by international students instead of the govt subsidising international students to a tune of $19,000.