Studying in the course of your choice means you might have to use additional funds. In other words, you might need some form of financial aid if you are going to further your studies either locally in Singapore or otherwise.
What does Education Funding means?
In Singapore, there are various methods and schemes when it comes to education funding. In most cases, they are offered either by the government, public agencies or private organizations. This comes in the form of some financial support for the student to complete the education. They can either be long, medium or short term loans. Among the factors that you need to consider include:
- Different institutions have different procedures
- The course that you take will determine what type of funding you need
- scholarships are another form and needs to be decided prior to starting the course
- You can apply for these fund at education levels from K-12 to Postgraduate courses
What process is involved?
The process can range between straightforward to highly complex depending on what you are applying for. You need to know what you are eligible for before applying. Then, decide on the type of education funds that can fit your requirements. Once you have ascertained that, you now need to talk to the right people like consultants, counsellors and parents so that you get the right advice. Then, you need to work with the institution to start the application process. In most cases, there will be a Financial Aid counsellor in the institution who can assist you in this. Among the important things to consider which you must take note include:
- Important dates and deadlines
- Dates of submission of documents
- Documents required
- updating of information
Types of Educational Funds Available in Singapore
As mentioned, there are several options that you can consider when it comes to education funding. This includes:
Types of Sponsorships
A sponsorship is given to the student who due to a financial situation is unable to support his own education independently. This is usually provided for the student in various education levels which mean it could be in primary, secondary and tertiary education. There are in fact, many agencies and organizations that offer to sponsor students’ education and this is usually done through the sponsoring agency that finds potential donors who can help. Among the earliest instances is the Children International sponsorship charity which has been around since 1936.
Eligibility and mechanics
To be a sponsored student, you need to fulfill the criteria and must be deserving. The basic eligibility criteria are as follow although they are not entirely limited to:
- an orphan
- comes from a low-income family
- interested in studying but lack of funding resources
Building the individual through sponsorship
The idea behind sponsoring a student is to help children regardless of their background given a fair opportunity to education and to help break the cycle of poverty. In fact, this will give them the fair chance to become self-dependent individuals as they come from a broken or low-income family. In doing so, they can develop as an individual to help not only in education but later in life as well.
How this works is that, the sponsoring agency will first filter the names of students through reading their profiles. Then, the shortlisted ones will be sent to the sponsors. The agency will then be responsible to manage the funds between the sponsor and the student and to moderate any form of communication between the giver and the receiver. This however, differs among the different organizations because some are community based while some do not handle the funds. In many cases, the sponsors will channel the funds directly to the school involved.
Another financial aid for education comes in the form of scholarships. The good thing about scholarships is that they usually do not require the student to pay back. Most scholarships are merit-based and there are actually several types available.
Types of Scholarships
As scholarships are mostly based on merit, it will have something to do with the performance of the student. This would usually involve their academic performance while other factors will be taken into consideration as well such as artistic and athletic performances. When a student performs exemplary in the studies, the scholarship will be awarded accordingly. This could be in cash form or it could be paid directly to the institution of the student who has enrolled for.
Another type of scholarship besides merit-based ones is known as need-based scholarships. This is the type of scholarships awarded to students who provide such aid based on the financial status of the family of the student. In other words, it is aimed to help out for students facing hardships financially. However, it must be noted that there will be some form of performance-based evaluation as well which means the student must have some form of achievement academically before the scholarship can be awarded.
In Singapore, some types of scholarships involve association to a certain group. This could be based on the religion, race or community where the student comes from. Among the common examples of this type of scholarship is known as the Gates Millennium Scholar Program.
Where can you find such scholarships?
In most cases, news and information about such scholarships are published online. This is also available through the financial aid department of the institution that the student wants to study in. Among the things that needs to be taken into consideration and given emphasis include:
- dates of submission and deadlines
- Minimum requirements
- academic results
- financial statements – for needs-based scholarships
Education loans are among the most popular forms of funding for education as they are straightforward and simple. The process is like applying for any other types of loan from the bank in which you need to prove your eligibility and your ability to pay back the loan, submit the documents and you are ready to go. In Singapore however, education loans are quite different as compared to other types of loans simply because they are catered for students. When you apply for an education loan, you enjoy lower interest and a more flexible repayment method.
Repayment of education loans
When a student takes up an education loan, the main concern is when will he be able to pay back. This is because once the loan is given, it will take a few years before the student can repay because he has to undergo the course which means he has no way or repaying yet. As such, repayment will only occur later based on trust or some form of collateral.
Available Education Loans
Singapore banks have several types of education loans which include (although not limited to) the following
- Maybank – one of the popular loans for local institutions
- OCBC Frank Education Loan – popular among low-income students
- POSB Further Study Assist Loan – known for having the lowest penalty fees
- Maybank Overseas Education Loan – For studying overseas