The Average Cost of University Fees in Singapore (2024)

Singapore plays host to several universities that are among the world’s best. We’ll show you how much it costs to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at these colleges, and whether tertiary education in the Lion City is worth it.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Feb 23, 2024

University students in Singapore celebrating their graduation

While Singapore has some of the best universities in Asia, and the world even, the path to a tertiary education is far from easy.

Singapore might have an impressive adult literacy rate of 97.6%, but only 37.5% of the country’s labour force has a university degree. Another 15% has attained a diploma or a similar professional qualification.

With former Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung once voicing his push to limit the number of individuals in Singapore with a Bachelor’s Degree to approximately 30-40%, the question is not only how much a university degree will cost, but whether it’s worth it to pursue tertiary education too.

Below, we break down the average cost at Singapore’s top universities, and examine the value of such a pursuit in one’s life.

How Are University Fees in Singapore Calculated?

The fees at Singapore’s six publicly funded autonomous universities (NTU, NUS, SMU, SIT, SUSS, SUTD) is broken down into four categories:

  • Subsidised Singapore Citizen
  • Subsidised Permanent Resident
  • Subsidised International Student
  • Unsubsidised International Student

The average cost of a Bachelor’s Degree programme for Singaporean citizens, which is government subsidised, is around a quarter of a completely unsubsidised programme. This is what international students tend to be charged.

Therefore, as you might expect, Singapore citizens are generally charged the lowest university fees at these six colleges. A full programme currently ranges from S$20,760 to $140,000, depending on the major you’re pursuing. On the other hand, completely unsubsidised programmes range from S$77,000 all the way to a whopping S$673,232.

What’s more, Singapore citizens are automatically enrolled into the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Tuition Grant Scheme. Conversely, permanent residents and international students need to apply for the grant after receiving an offer of acceptance from any of the six universities listed above.

If they receive approval, they must sign a Tuition Grant Agreement which obliges them to work in a Singapore entity for three years upon graduation.

Depending on the annual household income and given the increase in tuition fees for international students through the years, Singapore’s autonomous universities may be best suited for citizens and permanent residents only.

What Is the Average Cost of a University Education in Singapore?

calculating education costs
Source: Pexels

As mentioned earlier, Singapore currently has six publicly funded autonomous universities. There are a wide range of private universities offering Bachelor’s Degree programmes too.

The Lion City’s six public universities are among the most competitive colleges around, with the National University Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) even currently ranking among the top five schools in Asia.

Below is the 2023/2024 Annual Year fee breakdown for these top two universities. For the sake of a fair comparison, we’ll use figures including the MOE Tuition Grant.

NUS Tuition Fees 2023/2024

ProgrammeSingapore Citizen (Subsidised)Permanent Resident (Subsidised)International Student (Subsidised)
Business (Real Estate)S$33,000S$46,200S$71,200
Design and EngineeringS$33,000S$46,200S$71,200
Design and Engineering (Built Environment)S$33,000S$46,200S$71,200
Design and Engineering (Architecture, Landscape Architecture)S$35,600S$49,800S$76,800
Humanities & SciencesS$33,000S$46,200S$71,200
Medicine (Nursing)S$35,800S$50,200S$77,400
Science (Pharmacy)S$36,400S$51,000S$78,600

NTU Tuition Fees 2023/2024

ProgrammeSingapore Citizen (Subsidised)Permanent Resident (Subsidised)International Student (Subsidised)
All programmes (Excluding the ones below)
Accountancy & BusinessS$37,800S$53,000S$81,600
Business & ComputingS$37,800S$53,000S$81,600
Business & Computer EngineeringS$37,800S$53,000S$81,600
Renaissance EngineeringS$71,800S$100,600S$155,000

In 2022, there were 95,887 students enrolled in their first university degree programme across Singapore six autonomous public universities, as per data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics. 2023’s figures have not been compiled and released yet.

As mentioned above, NUS and NTU are currently among the top five universities in Asia, and therefore the top choices for students in Singapore. They run an equally wide range of Bachelor’s Degree programmes, and the difference in cost between them isn’t discernable at the moment. Additionally, certifications from both colleges are equally recognised by businesses operating in Singapore.

Related: Making a Career Switch? These Are the Most Lucrative Industries to Be In 2024 and Beyond

The Average Cost of University Tuition by Degree Programme

Since not all six public universities offer the same degree programmes, calculating the average tuition cost per programme can be tricky. The examples below only includes schools which offer the degree.

Additionally, some universities do not offer certain Bachelor’s Degree programmes to international students who didn’t receive a tuition grant. One such example is NTU, which at this point in time, does not offer its Medicine and Renaissance Engineering degree programmes to individuals who did not receive an MOE Tuition Grant.

Average Tuition Cost By Degree Programme (Annual Year 2023/2024)

ProgrammeSingapore Citizen (Subsidised)Permanent Resident (Subsidised)International Student (Subsidised)

To determine the value of a specific Bachelor’s Degree, you’d need to look at the average salary for a fresh graduate as well. Here’s how much a graduate from each programme listed above would typically draw in the job market right now.

Average Salary By Degree Programme

ProgrammeAverage Monthly Salary

These figures are based on the Graduate Employment Survey held in 2022. Although 2023’s figures have not been released yet, expect the difference to be similar between the various degree programmes. As you might expect, computing-related Bachelor’s Degree holders still attract the highest starting salaries, and are therefore able to recoup the cost of their education quicker.

Furthermore, computing-related degrees aren’t a lot more expensive than the other qualification types either. However, do note that hiring trends may change as the years go by, so don’t enrol into a programme solely based on the earning power you might have after you graduate.

Related: How to Put Your Salary Increment to Good Use

Is a University Education in Singapore Worth It?

The first concern that’s important to address is the question of affordability. According to the Department of Statistics, the median monthly household income currently stands at S$10,869.

Given that the average subsidised tuition fees for a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in engineering, being one of the most popular programmes, costs about S$36,000, it seems reasonable to assume that it is affordable for a household. This rate, however, is only offered to Singaporeans. It progressively gets less affordable for permanent residents and students without a tuition grant.

Furthermore, inflation has been on the rise and households have other costs to settle on a daily basis as well.

The second concern that needs to be addressed is the admissions process. While it isn’t uncommon for elite universities to limit the number of accepted students, or to charge permanent residents and international students tuition fees at least 50% higher than what citizens have to pay, Singapore may just have a different explanation for this trend.

As mentioned above, former Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung pointed out at the 47th St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland that the government wants to cap the proportion of graduates to anywhere between 30% and 40%. The reasoning behind this is the need to align Singapore’s education system with the needs of the economy.

While it is important to point out that this does not affect private universities’ acceptance rates, Singapore’s public universities are some of the highest ranked in Asia and the world.

Therefore, whether a Bachelor’s Degree at any one of Singapore’s six public universities is worth the time and money is definitely something you need to think hard about before enrolling. Although your personal situation might change as time goes by, a five-digit sum and around four years of your time spent studying is considerable.

Do ensure that you’ll at least use your degree as a starting point for your career, or that it’ll be personally enriching. Like we said, don’t enrol in a programme just because it attracts a high salary right now. Things might change and you might be much better suited for another course of study, or even a technical skill instead.

If you’re ready to enrol in an undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate programme, consider the best education loans that you may be qualified for to ease your financial burden.

Compare The Best Credit Cards in SingaporeFind Out More

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