Needy students to get close to $8 million this year under ST School Pocket Money Fund

SINGAPORE- More than 14,000 needy students are expected to receive some $8 million dollars to help them with food and other expenses in school this year.

The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF), which gives a monthly stipend to students from low-income homes, said the estimated $8 million disbursement is a 60 per cent jump from the amount of money given out two years ago.

More money will be disbursed this year because the fund was extended to post-secondary students last year. The amount given to primary and secondary school students early this year was also raised.

From January, primary and secondary school students have been receiving $5 more each month to cope with the rising cost of living. Primary school students now get $60 a month, secondary students receive $95 a month. Post-secondary school students below the age of 21 have also been eligible for a $120 monthly payout since last year.

Chairman of SPMF Han Fook Kwang said on Wednesday that two more changes will be made to the fund's eligibility criteria so that more students will benefit from it.

Firstly, help will be given to eligible students up to the year in which they turn 21. This means that students will continue to receive help for the full year, instead of having the assistance stop the day after their birthdays, as is the case now.

Secondly, post-secondary students who wish to receive aid in the past needed to have either tapped on the fund previously or have a sibling who is drawing on the fund. In future, all who meet the income criteria can qualify. This change will benefit new applicants and those from single-child families.