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What Costs Should You Consider When Planning for Your Child’s Education?

Providing a good university education is usually one of many parents’ top priorities, and an important milestone during the last leg of their children’s education journeys.

As a parent, you might be wondering how to get started so that, in due time, you’ll be ready to finance your child’s university education. Here are some important areas to take note of while doing your early planning.

Costs of local universities in Singapore (AY2022/2023)

Course fees can vary depending on the university and the undergraduate courses offered.

Below are prices extracted from the six local universities for Singaporeans doing full-time undergraduate courses.

UniversityCourseTuition feesType of fees
National University of Singapore (NUS)
BusinessS$9,650
Annual
DentistryS$30,200
LawS$12,700
ComputingS$8,250
A full list of course fees can be found here
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
BusinessS$9,450
Annual
MedicineS$35,000
PsychologyS$8,250
A full list of course fees can be found here
Singapore Management University (SMU)
LawS$12,700
Annual
Business ManagementS$11,500
Computer ScienceS$11,500
A full list of course fees can be found here
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)
MarketingS$30,000 (around S$7,500/year)
Total fees for four-year programme
FinanceS$30,000 (around S$7,500/year)
AccountancyS$33,640 (around S$8,410/year)
A full list of course fees can be found here
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
Computer Science & DesignS$13,500
Annual
Engineering Product DevelopmentS$13,500
Architecture & Sustainable DesignS$13,500
A full list of course fees can be found here
Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)
Digital Art & AnimationS$43,320 (around S$10,830/year)
Total fees for four-year programme
Information SecurityS$30,000 (around S$7,500/year)
Dietetics & NutritionS$37,200 (around S$9,300/year)
A full list of course fees can be found here

Apart from knowing the tuition fees of local universities, you will also need to estimate living expenses and other costs during university. Some of these expenses could include, but are not limited to, course studying materials and administrative costs per term, staying in the university hostel, and daily expenses. You would also need to account for inflation in calculating the education cost.

Taking, for example, a business degree in NUS over four years, this could be the total cost that you’d anticipate:

Assuming your child is going to enrol in a local university in 18 years and based on an inflation rate of 2%, the estimated total education costs would be S$158,000. With this projection in mind, you can take stock of the strategies you have onhand to grow your funds, and look at other possible methods to fill any gap in resources.

If there is a need to save or invest to work towards your child’s education goal, here are some key factors to take note of:

  1. Time Horizon – how many years are there till your child attends university?
  2. Budget – how much excess do you have per month to put aside for this goal?
  3. Rate of Return – what rate will you be willing to accept for the risks you take?

The power of compounding and starting early will also influence the factors mentioned above.

Assuming a rate of return of 2% per annum:

Education goalTime horizon (years)
Budget (per year)
S$158,000
18S$7,234
8S$18,047

Assuming a rate of return of 4% per annum:

Education goalTime horizon (years)
Budget (per year)
S$158,000
18S$5,924
8S$16,487

There are various savings and investment solutions available to achieve the above returns. Most importantly, you need to decide which solutions you are comfortable with, and continuously review your strategy to check that your progress is on track.

Pro tip: Use this investment return calculator to discover how much to invest to achieve your goals

Other ways of funding your child’s education in Singapore

Besides savings and investments, there are other ways through which you can consider getting help to fund your child’s education.

  • Tuition Fee Loan Scheme:
    Provides subsidies of up to 90% of fees payable by Singapore Citizens, for study in the local autonomous universities. The loan is for the entire course duration. It is interest-free during the period of study, with interest only commencing upon graduation.
  • CPF Education Loan Scheme:
    Only for approved full-time subsidised courses conducted at the approved institutions. There is a cap on the withdrawal limit. Repayment of the education loan including the accrued interest is required one year after graduation or termination of studies, whichever is earlier. Deferment or waiver of the education loan can be considered by the CPF board under certain conditions.
  • Study loans from banks:
    Different banks offer study loans so it is advisable to check around for their rates and terms.
  • Scholarships from Government and private companies

Read more: Best Education Study Loans for University Students in Singapore

We all want the best for our children, including providing them with a good education and hopefully giving them a headstart in their working life. Nothing beats starting early in planning for their education; not only can you be assured that their needs will be provided for, your retirement planning will not be disrupted as well.

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