Singapore , Singapore

Tuition Programs for International Students

Tuition Grant Scheme, Singapore Education

February 11, 2010

A government plan helps international students with the high costs of technical and university education in exchange for global talent

The Government of Singapore has introduced a Tuition Grant Scheme (TSG), to help international students subsidize the high costs of technical and university education. The policy is part of an overall strategy to both recruit and retain international students to Singapore.

With a population of 4.5 million and an extremely low birth rate, Singapore, needs immigration to remain economically competitive. The TSG is part of a larger economic strategy to become a “talent capital of the global economy.”

A government economic review panel recommended a target of 150,000 foreign students by 2012 – more than double the 2005 figure of 66,000 – estimating that this would not only create 22,000 jobs but also raise the education sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product from the current 1.9 percent (S$3 billion or US$1.9 billion) to 5 percent.

Singapore is taking the lead on building the international student market. Founded in 2002, the Global Schoolhouse initiative has helped to build up the Singapore Education brand-name. By combining Asian school systems with Western education styles, Global Schoolhouse has attracted foreign universities like INSEAD, Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to set up operations in the city. Today, Singapore is home to 16 leading foreign tertiary institutions and 44 pre-tertiary schools offering international curricula. It’s goal is to have 150, 000 students targeted by 2012.

In exchange for TSG support, international students are requires to sign a Tuition Grant agreement that requires them to work in Singapore for a minimum of 3 years after graduation.

Cities of Migration is particularly interested in the policies and initiative that will follow from the TSG program – specifically, what will Singapore be doing to insure that international graduates are able to both find employment and then integrate into the society to the degree that it become “home” and they ultimately decide to stay.

As patterns of migration become more fluid and immigrants often cycle through a number of cites, Singapore’s lessons in retaining global talent, is something we will watching closely.

Related Good Idea We are Watching:

Helsinki: Moving international talent from university to employment

Making it Work for You:

  • Providing subsidies to help immigrants pay for upgrading skills is a short-term investment that delivers long-term benefits.
  • International students are just one of many groups of migrants in an increasingly mobile world. Tailor your programs to address the specific needs of your client group. What are you missing with a one-size fits all approach?

For this Good Idea contact:

Tuition Grant Unit, Higher Education Division , Ministry of Education
Office Tower Level 15
1 North Buona Vista Drive
+65 6872 2220

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