SINGAPORE - The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is launching a new education grant for its students that will see them receiving up to $12,000 each over a four-year degree programme.
The new Community Grant will cover more than 800 undergraduates each year, the university said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 20).
It added that the new grant and existing financial programmes mean that all students who enrol in SUTD will receive some form of subsidy or sponsorship for their tuition fees.
Under the grant, an initial sum of $1,500 will be given to all existing and incoming Singaporean undergraduates who are not receiving any form of financial aid or scholarships, with $1,500 more for each following term.
"The grant is tenable for up to eight academic terms, provided the student continues to meet the eligibility criteria," SUTD said, adding: "We are committed to ensure that no deserving Singaporean student is denied access to our programmes because of financial reasons."
The university told The Straits Times that the new grant will be funded by its endowment fund.
SUTD already provides financial support for students from lower and middle-income families. Together with the enhanced Higher Education Community Bursary from the Government, these students' tuition fees are effectively 100 per cent subsidised, the university added.
SUTD president Chong Tow Chong said his university's efforts are "in line with the Government's efforts to enable every Singaporean student to have the opportunity to receive a good education regardless of family circumstances".
Universities and the Government have been seeking to make higher education more accessible for all Singaporeans, especially focusing on students from lower-income families.
Among other initiatives, Singapore's two newest universities - the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Social Sciences - lowered their fees from $8,000 to $7,500 for full-time general degree students this year.
Government bursaries for university, polytechnic, Institute of Technical Education, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Lasalle College of the Arts students have also been enhanced since August last year.
Across all six universities here, Government bursaries for needy students now cover 75 per cent of tuition fees for those pursuing general degrees, up from 50 per cent before August last year.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during his National Day Rally last year that students from less privileged backgrounds must be confident of getting financial aid to help see them through their education and must not be deterred from pursuing a course just because of money.
"This is fundamental to maintaining Singapore as an open meritocracy," Mr Lee said.
Those interested in the new SUTD grant can visit the university's digital open house at https://openhouse.sutd.edu.sg, which will go live at 11am on Saturday.