SINGAPORE: Mr Choo Chong Ngen, the founder and executive chairman of budget hotel chain Hotel 81, has donated S$2 million to the National University of Singapore (NUS) to set up a bursary for financially needy students.
Called the Hotel 81-Choo Chong Ngen Bursary, it will be awarded from Academic Year 2017/2018 onwards, and will benefit up to 32 qualifying students a year enrolled in any course of study.
Each bursary is tenable for one academic year, and is open to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. The donation will also enable NUS to apply for a matching grant from the Government.
Mr Choo said: “When I was young, I had to sacrifice a formal education due to family financial difficulties and so I do not wish others to go through the same."
He added that "NUS is a natural choice as it is a top institution with a transparent and all-encompassing student financial support programme”.
NUS president Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said many Singaporean students at the university have told him how their lives were transformed by the bursaries they received. "Their personal stories underscore how a gift to a bursary can have an immediate and profound impact upon the lives of young people who have the talent to succeed but who come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds," he added.
Prof Tan said the university is "deeply appreciative of Mr Choo's generosity" and he hopes the donation will inspire other business leaders and members of the community to help young people in the same way.
Last year, Mr Choo also donated S$2 million to the Singapore Management University (SMU) to set up a bursary for needy students. It was the single largest bursary gift to SMU from an individual donor.