Scholarship for foreigners – How many and how much have been spent?

Mr Heng Swee Keat: The annual number of scholarships awarded to international students at the undergraduate level has come down in recent years. Since 2012, about 900 such scholarships are awarded each year.

The scholarships include school fees, and typically include accommodation and some allowances. The annual cost per scholarship is about $25,000 on average.

The questions were to get an update from data I had obtained when I first entered parliament. In January and February 2012, MOE had revealed then that it awards 170 and 900 scholarships at the undergraduate level each year to ASEAN and non-ASEAN students respectively, making a total of 1,070 new international scholars a year. Budget per scholar then was between $18,000 and $25,000 a year….

At $25,000 per year per international scholar and with a scholarship lasting typically 4 years, the annual budget on international scholars would be $25,000 x 900 x 4, giving a total of $90 million a year (this figure excludes the amount spent on pre-tertiary and post-graduate scholarships, as well as that spent on tuition grants). The expenditure on an international scholar would be $100,000 over the 4-year time period to obtain his/her first degree. I believe this figure excludes tuition grants of typically $10,000-$20,000 per annum per student which almost all international students will get.

The above was from a post in the TRE titled, ‘Review scholarship framework for Intl Students’. Heng Swee Kiat was reply to Yee Jenn Jong in Parliament on the number of scholarships that were given to foreigners. The numbers given were sketchy and neither here nor there. It would be good if Heng Swee Kiat could provide a comprehensive picture of the number of scholarships given out in the last 20 years and the amount of money spent for the people to understand whether there is any problem on this generous offer by the govt. The statistics should include Asean and non Asean students, from secondary to post graduates. And if scholarships are given to primary schools as well, then it should also be included, though I think this is not the case. There should be a breakdown as to school fees and living allowances including accommodation.

The figure will give the people a good feel of how much have been spent on foreign students and a comparative data on the number of govt scholarships given to Singaporeans in the same period. The minister can also explain the objectives of this generous offer, what the govt tries to achieve and how effective is the result. Please explain to the people why spending so much money is for the good of Singaporeans and how it benefits the Singaporeans.

Please also explain why taking away a thousand places annually, or more before the cut back, from Singaporeans to give to foreign students is good for Singaporeans.

Another question to ask is whether spending so much public money needs the approval of Parliament or any minister is good enough to authorize such expenditure? What is the approval limit of a minister without having to go through Parliament?

PS. The Singaporeans, especially the parents, and the undergrads of non nobles and aristrocrats would be wondering how the money spent on the foreigners could benefit them and other Singaporeans if this scheme is scrapped altogether, or if we are to do charity, let it be on a more humble scale that is more akin to the thinking of peasants. The generosity of nobles and aristocrats in spending public money is difficult to accept by the workers and peasants who would love to have a bit of it to make it easier on their pockets.


Virgo 49 said...

Besides scholarships to the foreign students, ministers, Mps children also first in queue for them.

Chinese quanxi with monies to spare would not go for them

Anonymous said...


to foreign students.......

新加坡是天堂! Yes! 新加坡是天堂!

如果新加坡不是天堂 哪里是天堂?


Anonymous said...

"Criticizing incest in European Aristocracy"


Does aristocratic incest mean "keeping it all in the family"?
Does aristocratic incest result in groupthink?

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

Eh uncle, many of those scholarships students are really LUSCIOUS SEXY YOUNG WOMEN from cuntries in our neighbourhood. What's more, they are quite intelligent.

Since tax money is SUNK MONEY, spend it on scholarships lah, especially for jambu chio bu hot sweet honeys---like an "all you can eat" Asian buffet lah.

I tell my ang moh friends: "Te best part about being an Asian guy is that you get to bang a lot of Asian chicks---especially the super-tight young ones when you yourself were but a boy". Wah, you should see the looks of envy....

patriot said...

Neglect the Locals and benefit the Aliens.

Sold out the Citizens in favour of outsiders.

Well done.

Sack the Pappies if for nothing, at least for BETRAYING THE CITIZENRY.


b said...

I think motivated sg students are too few, they are all busy with social media. Additional, some tax monies are paid by foreigners so spending on foreign students that can contribute to sg or bring knowledge to third world is still a good idea. Those few sg students that are brillant will go seek overseas study and get scholarships. Thats the trend these days. There are many of them in europe. Just ask around. No doubt, during crisis time, the gov can cut the amount of scholarships but that will also mean cutting some staff. Its all a money game. THe money did not go out of sg, it just went into the pockets of some lecturers who need to maintain an expensive lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Heng to give comprehensive figures is good and necessary. Singapore government and Singaporeans should not be "blur" and taken advantage by FTs and FT students. We should scrutinize the figures, how many (absolute & %) stayers, how many quit the nation, how many married locals, how many convert to citizenship, how many served NS, etc? What are the costs, what are the gains & losses?

Good risk/reward or taken for a RIDE?

Heng Swee Kiat should answer with facts & figures.

Anonymous said...

You know they gave away more than $100m every year to foreign students? You think this is small change can anyhow throw?