SINGAPORE - One student has quit Yale-NUS College and the school will refund first-year students' fees if they withdraw by Friday (Sept 17).
They will receive a tuition waiver for the first semester and a pro-rated return on residential fees, said Professor Joanne Roberts, executive vice-president (academic affairs) at Yale-NUS, in response to queries from The Straits Times.
Fees range between $30,041 and $74,563 for this academic year.
For students who want to transfer to other undergraduate programmes within the National University of Singapore (NUS) or to other autonomous universities here, the college will work with those institutions to get Yale-NUS course credits recognised.
Students who want to transfer to other institutions must submit their own applications to other universities or colleges with supporting documents, she added.
Prof Roberts said: "We hope current Yale-NUS students will choose to stay on and complete their studies with us. We are committed to providing all existing students the full Yale-NUS experience of academic, residential and co-curricular programmes through Academic Year 2024/25.
"Students will also graduate with a Yale-NUS College degree that is awarded by NUS, which we are confident will continue to be well recognised."
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament on Monday that the college and NUS will help students who wish to withdraw from the college.
ST has contacted NUS for more details.
Since the shock announcement on Aug 27 that Yale-NUS would be merging with NUS' University Scholars Programme - which many regard as a de facto closure of the college - students at Yale-NUS have been faced with the difficult decision of whether to stay or leave, facing a dwindling student body and a possibly diminished student experience.
This year's batch of undergraduates will be the college's last intake.
A second-year undergraduate from South Asia, who declined to be named, told ST that a shrinking cohort will mean that many student-run organisations within the college will probably cease to exist, given that there will be no new students to join or run them.
She said: "I moved to Singapore for Yale-NUS and started a life here, and I am planning to stay and work to serve my bond from the tuition grant scheme. But now, everything is so uncertain, so people are definitely looking to at least apply for transfers."
Another second-year student from New Zealand told ST that he is currently applying to universities in the United Kingdom, citing fears that many faculty members will choose to leave over the next few years.
A first-year student from South America told ST that the merger of faculties in NUS and the college has introduced uncertainty about whether education standards will remain the same, and prompted him to look elsewhere.
He said he had turned down offers from tertiary institutions including the University of California, Berkeley, because of the "very refreshing and revolutionary" comparative education system at Yale-NUS that was not dominated by Western academia.
Citing the response to a petition calling for consultation in the choice to merge faculties in NUS, he added: "Students being shut down and their voices not being heard is a great loss to any kind of nation that bills itself as democratic."
Yale-NUS has a large proportion of international students - about 40 per cent of about 1,000 students.
International students who apply for financial aid under the Tuition Grant Scheme are contractually obliged to work in a Singapore entity for three years upon graduation.
Yale-NUS has not received any formal applications to withdraw from the scheme since the Aug 27 announcement, Prof Roberts told ST.
She said international students who wish to leave Singapore before the end of their studies at Yale-NUS will be responsible for a tuition grant "buy-out", meaning that they will have to pay liquidated damages.
"The college is prepared to provide assistance as needed for students of the Class of 2024 and 2025," she said, adding that requests for help must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by June 1, 2022.