Studying and Living in Singapore


Singapore is a premier education hub which offers students an international perspective and diversity of options, in an environment that is inspiring and conducive to education.

Application and Admission into Singapore Universities/Institutes

Entry requirements vary depending upon the institution as well as courses applied to. For the local polytechnics and universities, applications are typically done directly online, during a specified period each year.

Students who have completed GCE 'O' Level or GCE 'A' Level qualifications are eligible to apply for polytechnic courses. Students who have completed GCE 'A' Level are eligible to apply for undergraduate programmes at the local universities. For post-graduate programmes, admission is as per the entry requirements for each programme.

The criteria for entry into Singapore's public institutes are generally quite high and competitive. Detailed admission requirements can be found online on the respective institutions' websites. Applications for the leading foreign universities are done directly with the respective university.

International students can also apply to private education organisations (PEOs), which offer courses from certificate to postgraduate levels. PEOs conduct their own admissions and applicants should check the application procedures with the PEO directly or seek advice from certified Singapore Education Specialist (SE Specialists).

Accommodation and Living Expenses Accommodation

There is a wide variety of accommodation in Singapore to suit different budgets and needs. Students should make prior arrangements for accommodation before arrival. Temporary accommodation can be arranged, giving them time to plan their living arrangements when they arrive. Students can seek the help of International Student Office available at most institutes.

Some of the accommodation options available include halls of residence, boarding schools, private hostels, homestays, public and private apartments / houses.
The Student Accommodation Handbook can be found on the Singapore Education website.

Living Expenses

Singapore offers a high, yet affordable, quality of life. The cost of living in Singapore is significantly lower than that of many developed countries such as Australia, UK and USA. An international student in Singapore spends on average about SGD 750 to SGD 2,000 a month on living expenses, including accommodation, utilities, food, transport, clothing, telecommunications, books & stationery, medical and personal expenses. (These estimates serve as a reference only).

Finances Tuition Grants and Fees

The Ministry of Education (MOE) provides tuition grants to students who are enrolled at local universities and polytechnics. International students, who avail of the tuition grant, are required to work for three years upon graduation, either in Singapore or with a Singapore-registered company or institution overseas. The tuition grant is currently around SGD 22,400 for lab-based and SGD 19,000 for non lab-based undergraduate programmes for universities and SGD 13,300 for polytechnics. The cost of education differs as per the institute and course structure.

Financial Assistance

Numerous financial assistance schemes are available for international students. Tuition Fee Loan Scheme: The Tuition Fee Loan Scheme provides a loan of up to 90% of the subsidised tuition fees payable for university students and up to 75% of the subsidised tuition fees payable for polytechnic students.

Bursaries: Bursaries are awarded based on financial need and usually do not exceed SGD 1,500 per academic year.

Study Loans: They are usually payable upon graduation or completion of the programme, at favorable interest rates. Some institutions offer additional loans for miscellaneous expenses, such as computer loans.

Scholarships: A number of scholarships are open to international students. Selection is usually based on academic merit, leadership and co-curricular records.
Visa and Work-Study Privileges


All international students must hold a valid student pass to study in Singapore. To obtain a student pass, students must first be offered a place in a full-time programme with an institution that is authorised to admit international students. Categories of approved institutions by the Ministry of Education:

a) Public institution b) Institute of higher learning (IHL) c) Foreign system school
d) Privately-funded public school e) Private education organisation (PEO).
As per current regulations, all PEOs are required to attain the CaseTrust for Education status before they can admit international students.
Please refer to the ICA website at for further details on application procedures.

Work-Study Privileges

International students in Singapore's public universities and polytechnics, as well as foreign institutes of higher learning, are allowed to work part-time of up to 16 hours per week during school term. They need to obtain prior permission from the Student Liaison / Affairs Office of their respective institutions. They are allowed to work full-time during vacations.

Please visit the Singapore Education Website for more details.

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