Yale-NUS to refund first-year students if they quit by today

They will get a first-semester tuition waiver and a pro-rated return on residential fees

One student has quit Yale-NUS College and the school will refund first-year students' fees if they withdraw by today.

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.

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.

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 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.

Another second-year student, from New Zealand, said he is 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.

He said he had turned down offers from tertiary institutions including the University of California, Berkeley, because of the "very refreshing and revolutionary" education system at Yale-NUS that was not dominated by Western academia.

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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2021, with the headline 'Yale-NUS to refund first-year students if they quit by today'. Subscribe