SINGAPORE - The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will be offering students from low-income families a new tuition grant and bursary award, so they are not deterred from higher education.
The awards and grants will start from the academic year starting May next year.
Charity Quantedge Foundation has contributed $3 million to seed-fund one of the grants, the university said on Wednesday (Oct 23).
The Quantedge Foundation-SUTD Education Opportunity Grant guarantees that every incoming undergraduate who is in need of financial help will not have to pay tuition fees, after taking into account subsidies and other forms of financial assistance from the Government.
Board member of Quantedge Foundation Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin said: "Social mobility is a key priority for our foundation.
"Every student from an economically disadvantaged background who qualifies, by merit, to attend university, but has to give that up due to uncertainty in securing sufficient financial aid, adds to social stratification in our society."
SUTD said there is no limit to the number of students who can benefit from the education opportunity grant. Whoever meets the eligibility criteria, and has applied for it, will get it.
The grant is primarily for students who come from families with a monthly per capita household income of $690 and below. They would be residing in a four-room type Housing Board flat or smaller, and would not have immediate family members who own private property.
The university on Wednesday held a gala dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel to thank donors and raise more funds. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat attended the event.
At the dinner, Mr Von Lee, chairman and founder of Expand Construction, contributed $1 million towards a Von Lee Yong Miang-SUTD Bursary Award.
"We hope the bursary - our contribution back to the society - will empower needy students to continue to build their dreams," said Mr Lee.
The university also announced a new SUTD Global Excellence Scholarship for those interested in pursuing postgraduate studies.
It covers the full undergraduate tuition fees, among other costs. There is also an optional $15,000 grant to cover tuition fees for selected postgraduate degree programmes.
Students should apply for the scholarships and financial aid when they apply for admission to SUTD next year.
At the event, it was announced that Mr Sam Goi, executive chairman of food manufacturer Tee Yih Jia Group, will be taking over from Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as SUTD's Patron for Advancement.
"As Patron, Mr Goi will continue to help steer SUTD's fundraising efforts as well as garner partners and donors who have a heart for educating and nurturing the next generation of leaders and innovators," the university said.
SUTD president Chong Tow Chong thanked Quantedge Foundation and Expand Construction "for their investments in education to provide equal opportunities such that no one gets left behind".
Professor Chong also thanked ESM Goh, who was present at the dinner, for helping SUTD with fundraising efforts in its early years, and Mr Goi for his "unwavering support to SUTD from the very beginning".