SINGAPORE: The Government will provide more financial support for students, particularly lower-income students, with increased annual Edusave contributions and an updated income eligibility criteria for bursaries.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined these schemes in this year’s Budget speech, at an overall cost of close to S$200 million per year.
“Education helps our children realise their full potential,” he said. “We invest heavily in every child, to ensure that everyone, regardless of background, has access to a quality education.”
To that end, he outlined three ways the Government will increase its support for education.
First, the annual Edusave contributions provided by the Government will be increased, from S$200 to S$230 for each primary school student, and from S$240 to S$290 for each secondary school student. This will take effect from January 2019.
To expand support to students from lower- to middle-income families, Mr Heng also announced that the Government will update the income eligibility criteria for the Edusave Merit Bursary and the Independent School Bursary. The Edusave Merit Bursary is awarded to Singapore citizen students who are in the top 25 per cent of academic performance of their level and course, and whose household income does not exceed the prescribed income criteria.
Currently, the income eligibility criteria for the Edusave Merit Bursary is S$6,000 in gross monthly household income, or S$1,500 in gross monthly household per capita income. Mr Heng announced that from this year, this will be increased to S$6,900 and S$1,725 respectively.
The Government will also increase specific support for students from lower-income families. Mr Heng announced that the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme will be enhanced, by raising the annual bursary quantum for pre-university students from S$750 to S$900. The income eligibility criteria will also be updated, he added.
More meals will also be covered for secondary school students under the School Meals Programme.
Students in special education schools will also benefit from the enhancements, Mr Heng added, and more details of these enhancements will be provided at the Ministry of Education’s Committee of Supply debate.
Mr Heng also outlined new initiatives to support Singaporeans in preparing for their financial needs.
A new financial education curriculum will be piloted at polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education, he said, to give youth a good foundation in financial literacy.