Education Minister Heng Swee Keat told Parliament on Thursday his ministry is increasing financial support for needy students. Income ceiling for its assistance scheme will be raised from current S$1,500 to S$2,500. A new per-capita income criterion will also be used in parallel, so students from households with a per capita income of S$625 and below will qualify. Schools will also be given additional grants of up to S$15,000 for the next 3 years, to provide additional support for students who may miss the criteria for financial help.
In real money terms, the MOE bursary handout for a Singaporean studying in a tertiary education institute is in the order of $800 to $2,150 per year (equiv $66 to $179 per month), tenable for 1 year only. Conditions apply - monthly gross household per capita (average) income must not exceed $1,700 or $1,200 per month respectively.
On the other hand, in addition to free tuition and books (estimated at $12,000 a year) provided generously by MOE, PRC scholars (such as the Sun Xu (孙旭) rumoured to be scion of well heeled Communist Party official) also enjoy:
Accommodation expenses to the tune of about $300 per month;
Monthly allowance of around $400 per month.
To get more out of the system, Singaporeans in dire need of funding can suck up to the PRC scholars by playing nurse-maid, i.e. waiting on them hand and foot like filipina domestic helps. NUS is offering its students a single room in the hostel inclusive of free meals if they are prepared to "be-friend" 17-year-old PRC scholars and serve as "mentors" to 6 of them for 1 or 2 semesters. NUS promises to reimburse all financial outlays relating to family hosting and outing duties. Which means you can finally afford to bring grandma to Universal Studios-Sentosa and charge it to MOE. The briefing is on today, 9 March 2012, at the Faculty of Science.
Heng said the support package for low and middle income families would relieve some burden, "But let me emphasize, it is not just about money, but an integrated approach, addressing financial, socio-emotional and learning support, in partnership with parents and the broader community." So that "socio-emotional and learning support" was all about bending over backwards for the foreigners.