The yearly out-of-pocket cost of tuition for Singapore citizens after they received government subsidies was researched by ValuePenguin in a city that has five major universities – National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design and Yale-NUS.
According to ValuePenguin, up by as much as 51 percent, the annual tuition cost for a general arts and science degree would cost between S$8,000 and S$11,000 now while it was between S$6,000 to S$7,000 ($4,353 to $5,078) in 2007.
The research found that tuition fees were hiked the most – 50 percent, at SMU. It has hiked fees to $11,300 from the 207 figure of S$7,500 for the degree and this was the most expensive, the research found.
Meanwhile, with a 103 percent hike, the cost of a law degree at NUS is now pegged at S$12,400 from a paltry amount of S$6,100 in 2009. At the same time a 53 percent jump was noted for obaini9ng a business degree which now stands at S$9,450 from the same base in 2008.
Similarly, while tuition for a business degree at SMU increased from S$7,500 in 2007 to S$11,200 in 2015, up 49 percent, a business degree from NTU went from S$6,110 in 2007 to S$9,250 in 2015, a 50 percent increase.
Singaporean’s are spending more on higher education, official data showed.
According to the government’s Household Expenditure Survey, compared to S$650 million a decade earlier, Singaporean families spent more than S$1 billion on university tuition in 2014, the government’s Household Expenditure Survey found.
Increased labor costs in Singapore could have been a factor in the big jump in university costs, said Duckju Kang, head of Asia at ValuePenguin. But Kang did not forget to mention that this rise in cost of labor was not representative of the entire picture. While Singapore’s tuition was up 38 percent, its CPI rose 25 percent and median household income grew 10 percent over the period.
The increased costs could not be reconciled with the larger increase in students’ fees, Kang said. Such increased costs include covering utilities, buying research equipment and the cost to universities of owning and maintaining buildings, he noted.
“Unless costs for all of these increased at the same rate (and CPI suggests that they didn’t), the rise in college tuition must be influenced by other factors, such as pure price increases,” he said.
From 25 percent in 2007, the percentage of applicants who won places on publicly-funded degree courses increased to 32 percent in 2015, according to data from the Singapore Government.
“Government subsidies play a huge role in increasing education affordability in Singapore,” Kang said.
But when compared to other countries, Singapore’s increases were, in fact, relatively tame. According to College Board, while in the United States, CPI increased by 13 percent between 2001 and 2015, college tuition in the U.S. increased by 50 percent in that period.
However, the rising cost of higher education was not a universal trend.
ValuePenguin found that between 2007 and 2015, South Korea saw a 22 percent increase in inflation, according to Korean Statistical Information Service while the cost of higher education in the country increased 8 percent during the same period.
(Adapted from CNBC)