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Singapore Budget 2014: More help with education costs for lower and middle-income families

Published on Feb 21, 2014 5:01 PM
 
Pupils attending a Chinese reading lesson at the PAP Community Foundation Teck Ghee kindergarten on July 27, 2012. The Government will provide more support to defray the education costs of lower-income households, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Friday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Government will provide more support to defray the education costs of lower-income households in Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Friday.

Some aid will also be extended to the middle-income group, he added in his Budget speech in Parliament.

He said lower-income families with children attending pre-school will receive help with school fees through the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme.

More households in the lowest quartile - those families earning up to $3,000 a month - will now pay $3 a month in kindergarten fees, down from as much as $75.

A lower-middle income household earning $4,800 a month will now pay $85 a month, compared with about $130 previously.

The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme will also be made available to pupils in all anchor operators and Ministry of Education kindergartens.

For families with older children, help is also on the way in the form of enhanced bursaries for students attending instituties of higher learning.

More students will be able to qualify for bursaries, with the per capita monthly household income threshold being raised from $1,700 to $1,900. This will cover students from two-thirds of all Singaporean households, Mr Tharman said.

University undergraduates from the lowest one-third of households will also see their bursaries rise to $3,600 a year. Middle-income students will enjoy higher bursaries of $2,600 a year.

These will be on top of the loan schemes that help students to finance their university education.

Mr Tharman also said that polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students from middle-income households will get more support. ITE bursaries for lower-income students will be higher than their fees, helping them defray living expenses, he said.

These changes will together cost up to $147 million more each year.

For more news and analysis on Singapore Budget 2014, click here for ST's Big Story coverage.