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A school that cares

Ethan Loh, an undergraduate at SMU’s School of Accountancy and Global Impact Scholar, with beneficiaries during Project Vikasa, an overseas community service project to India, in December 2017. PHOTO: FAITH LEE ANN
Ethan Loh, an undergraduate at SMU’s School of Accountancy and Global Impact Scholar, with beneficiaries during Project Vikasa, an overseas community service project to India, in December 2017. PHOTO: FAITH LEE ANN

SMU ensures that no deserving student misses out on a world-class education

To attract the best talent to its doors, the Singapore Management University (SMU), has various scholarships and financial aid schemes designed to help all students. These range from merit- to needs-based scholarships, ensuring that the lack of finances do not stand in the way of academic and personal excellence at SMU.

SMU has also made available more than $6 million in financial aid for students, combining university resources as well as donor-supported schemes. Students can access financial aid via the SMU Financial Grant, SMU Bursary, SMU Access, Work Study Grant, SMU Education Loan, SMU Student Computer Loan and donor-supported bursaries, study awards and needs-based scholarships.

With 200 scholarships that freshmen can apply for, one in 10 incoming freshmen will stand a chance to be awarded a scholarship by the University. All of them are bond-free.

Additionally, SMU offers a range of prestigious scholarships that acknowledge students’ ability and tenacity in academics, leadership and commitment to the community.

Here are some of them:

Global Impact Scholarship

Introduced in 2017, this premier flagship scholarship aims to nurture a new generation of SMU leaders with the global perspective, skills and commitment to solve complex problems and make strong societal impact and contributions, globally and in Singapore.

It provides full coverage of tuition fees, an annual living allowance, a one-time computer allowance; a grant for global learning opportunities like exchange or summer programmes, overseas community service projects and overseas scholars’ study missions; as well as funds for on-campus accommodation at the SMU Prinsep Street Residences in first year of studies. Global Impact Scholars also have the option to pursue dual degree programmes and concurrent or sequential Bachelor-Master programmes.

The bond-free scholarship features a specially designed Scholars’ Core curriculum that features a strong infusion of experiential learning through bespoke SMU-X modules, strong leadership development opportunities, as well as multiple forms of international exposure, through a scholar’s study mission, overseas community service and overseas exchange programmes.

SMU Provost, Professor Lily Kong, said, “The programme is designed to help realise each scholar’s leadership potential and ignite their desire to make a meaningful impact in their communities. It gives scholars a transformative learning experience, and cultivates in them a strong capacity for critical, creative and innovative thinking.”

“We hope that these scholars will graduate having both a sense of global citizenship as well as local rootedness, and demonstrate committed leadership,” she added.

Mr Ethan Loh, a Year 1 undergraduate at SMU’s School of Accountancy and Global Impact Scholar, participated in an overseas community service project to India last December. There, he, helped women at a vocational training centre with financial planning and confidence-building.

“One key aspect of my time that kept me excited was the change I was seeing in Puja (one of the women he worked with),” he says.

He adds: “She was conscientious in recording all her expenditures into the budget notebook that we provided. There were other women who benefitted similarly to Puja. Their change showed me that despite our short time there, we were able to teach the women to take control of their finances and have empowered them.”

Commenting on the Scholarship’s unique curriculum, Mr Allan Schulte, partner at Bain & Company Southeast Asia, says: “The Global Impact Scholarship represents a cutting-edge way of cultivating the kind of talent we are looking for, and we fully endorse its mission.”

Lee Kong Chian Scholars Programme

For budding entrepreneurs with intellectual acumen, there is the Lee Kong Chian Scholars’ Programme (LKCSP), another flagship scholarship offered by SMU.

It is open to those who are enrolled in a double-degree programme, with Business Management as one of the two programmes.

Made possible with the generous support of the Lee Foundation, the LKCSP offers scholars a full tuition fee waiver for the duration of their double degrees, a one-time notebook grant, book allowance and sponsorship for an international exchange programme, an overseas study mission and an overseas community service project. 

A Lee Kong Chian Scholar, Mr Yap Hsien Liang says: "The programme is a fantastic opportunity because it develops scholars into well-rounded individuals. Beyond the technical skills gained from your double degrees, you will get lots of overseas exposure through the exchange programmes, business study trips and community service projects."

SMU Merit Scholarship Programme

It is open to students with leadership potential and substantial involvement in co-curricular or community activities.

The SMU Merit Scholarship provides full tuition coverage, a generous allowance that can be used to fund growth opportunities like overseas community service projects (scholars must participate in at least one), overseas student exchanges, case competitions and presentations at conferences.

Yip Pin Xiu Scholarship

This is SMU’s first full sports scholarship. It is named after three-time Paralympic gold medallist and SMU alumna Yip Pin Xiu, who studied at the School of Social Sciences.

Born with a muscular degenerative condition, she lost her ability to walk when she was 13. Overcoming the odds, she won her first gold medal in the 50m backstroke S2 category event at the Beijing 2008 Summer Paralympics and was the first para athlete to be inducted into Singapore’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.


Ms Yip Pin Xiu with her plaque at the launch of the bond-free Yip Pin Xiu Scholarship on December 6, 2016. PHOTO: SMU

The Yip Pin Xiu Scholarship is open to Singapore athletes who have won international recognition and who plan to continue their sporting career. It honours excellence in sports and the values that Miss Yip reflects — hard work, resilience, humility, dedication and leadership.

It provides the same benefits as the SMU Merit Scholarship.

SMU Access

In a new initiative launched in 2017, SMU guarantees that every local student who has genuine financial needs and who meet certain criteria will be given a financial aid package equal to the student’s full tuition fees.

SMU Access will effectively make the entire university education tuition-free for such students. This initiative is seed-funded by a $8 million gift from Quantedge Foundation.

Professor Arnoud De Meyer, SMU’s president says: “The seed-funding gift by Quantedge Foundation is a perfect start to the SMU Access initiative, a first in Singapore. This initiative guarantees that every SMU student who is eligible, regardless of GPA levels, will not have to eschew a university education for financial reasons.

“This initiative will make a significant impact on the recipients and their families, and SMU is proud to be making that difference in our students’ lives.”

Singapore Academy of Law Undergraduate Scholarship, Patrick Ong Law LLC Bursary

For financially needy undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Laws at SMU, there is the Singapore Academy of Law Undergraduate Scholarship. Funded by the Singapore Academy of Law, this scholarship will cover all tuition fees.

Additionally, the Patrick Ong Law LLC Bursary provides a $5,000 award each year to a needy student.


SMU's new building for the School of Law benefits current law students and the larger university population. PHOTO: SMU

Kuok Khoon Hong Scholarship

Established by Mr Kuok Khoon Hong in 2012, the Kuok Khoon Hong (KKH) Scholarship provides $15,000 per annum to cover tuition fees and study-related expenses of second- to final-year undergraduates. It is tenable for up to three years.

Recipients must display active leadership abilities and contribute to the University or to the community.

Mr Brian Lee Se Wei, is a KKH Scholar who enrolled in SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business in 2015. He is also on the Dean’s list. The Scholarship has not only covered Brian’s tuition fees, but also enabled him to lead a vibrant school life through exchange programmes and community work.

In December 2016, he worked in HSBC as a global banking intern, and completed another internship with Temasek International from May 2017 to January this year.


Brian Lee, an undergraduate at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and KKH scholar, went to rural parts of China for a community service project in 2015 to build houses for the underprivileged and taught English at primary schools. PHOTO: SMU

In 2015, Brian went to rural parts of China for a month to build houses for the underprivileged. He also taught English at primary schools, and shared with students in the local tertiary schools about the possibility of venturing outside their village into Singapore. Finding it meaningful, he is involved in an upcoming overseas community service project to another part of China where he will be inculcating practical business and life skills to physically handicapped students and promoting aesthetic learning.