The Government plans to increase the bursaries and raise income eligibility threshold for students studying in institutes of higher learning this year, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Friday.
This enhanced support will cost the Government up to $147 million more per year, but it will benefit about 120,000 students in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and universities - reaching students in up to two-thirds of all Singaporean households.
More students, for instance, will be able to qualify for the bursaries as the Ministry of education (MOE) raises the income cut-off from $1,700 to $1,900 from this academic year onwards. The eligible students will also receive a more generous sum, as the bursary amounts are increased.
For a student enrolled in ITE, the enhanced bursaries will also cover the full amount of the student's school fees. So for instance, an ITE student whose monthly household per capita income of $900 currently receives a bursary amount of $360 per year. After the bursary enhancements, the student will now receive $900, which covers the $357 in school fees per academic year for a Nitec course.
The increased bursaries will also cover 80 per cent of school fees for students studying in a local poly, and 45 per cent of school fees from university students from lower income families.
The bursaries come on top of other subsidies that students in the local polytecnics, universities and ITE enjoy, said Mr Heng. Coupled with the recent concession on polytechnic students' transport fares, "these changes will reduce the financial burden of many students," he added during the budget debate for his ministry.