Isle of quality education

Wish to study in Singapore but don’t know where and how to begin? Here’s the low-down on this South Asian education hub
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Updated on Jun 30, 2010 09:19 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Horizons Correspondent, New Delhi

Why the land of the lion? Well, Singapore has emerged as an international education hub offering a wide variety of courses in diverse fields such as management, engineering and biomedical sciences. Management courses combine the best of Eastern and Western management practices. Speciality courses such as arts, design, performing arts, tourism and hospitality are also popular with Indian students due to their strong industry connect. Most of these study options are “world-class at affordable prices”. The country also offers a multi-cultural environment for students, especially Indians. Most important, the country is only four hours away from India.

Programmes popular among Indian students: Management courses are the most popular with Indian students. So are niche areas such as performing arts, tourism and hospitality.

Session commences: Academic intakes depend upon the course and the institution. In general, most academic intake takes place in the month of August or January every year.

When to apply: Students should apply at least three months prior to the intake.

How to apply and to/ through whom: Entry requirements differ from institution to institution. Students should check the course brochures or the college website to ensure that the course meets their requirements. They should then apply directly to the institution along with the relevant certificates and documentation. Local universities accept online applications. Some courses or programmes require students to undergo an interview or placement test.

Application docket checklist: Upon acceptance, students will be sent a Letter of Offer. Applicants who apply online to local universities can check their application status online. Students should then return the acceptance form by the closing date and plan to be in Singapore at least two weeks before the semester commences.

Eligibility for graduation courses include: Students should have completed at least twelve years of education before applying for under-graduate courses.

TOEFL/IELTS scores are not mandatory for Indian students seeking admission in Singapore but some institutes insist on TOEFL/IELTS, depending on the courses applied to. In case of post-graduate courses, the requirement is a Bachelors’ degree from a recognised university, a good GMAT /GRE score, prior work experience of at least two years and a good TOEFL/IELTS score for candidates who did not have English as the medium of instruction at the tertiary level
Accommodation options: There are many types of accommodation in Singapore, such as hostels, rentals, paying guest apartments and boarding establishments to suit different budgets and needs. Students should make prior arrangements for accommodation. Most educational institutions have an International Student Office for the purpose. The staff there offer advice on accommodation procedure, contacts for private rental offers, room-mate matching services, handy tips about renting student homes.

Scholarships/ financial support: Singapore Education offers scholarships and financial support, especially to international students. The Ministry of Education offers scholarships especially for international students at different levels of study: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secondary Scholarship; ASEAN Pre-University Scholarship; ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarships (AUS) as well as the Singapore Scholarship for ASEAN students. These scholarships are offered to students to pursue their tertiary education.

Some of the institutions, both public and private, offer scholarships and bursaries depending upon the course and the level of graduation. Education in Singapore’s public universities is currently heavily subsidised even for international students.

The local universities provide tuition fee grants to international students, making education more affordable and accessible to them. International students can secure scholarships, either from the universities or from companies, both local and MNCs.

Other financial assistance provided by Singapore education is as follows:
Tuition grant scheme: The Tuition Grant is around S$22,400 for a lab-based undergraduate programme and $19,000 for a non lab-based programme in the university and $13,300 for a diploma programme in the polytechnic. In return for subsidised education, foreign students are required to serve a Tuition Grant bond by working in a Singapore-based company or in Singapore for three years after graduation.

Bursaries: International students may apply for bursaries to pay for their tuition fees and other expenses. Bursaries are awarded based on financial needs.

Study loans: These are usually payable upon graduation or completion of the programme at favourable interest rates. Some educational institutions offer additional loans for miscellaneous expenses.

Part-time jobs policy: Only full time foreign students enrolled at Singapore’s public universities, polytechnics and certain special institutes are allowed work part time in Singapore while they are holding a student’s pass. Students are only allowed to work a maximum of 16 hours a week during term time.

Students on scholarships must seek permission from their sponsors before engaging in any form of employment

Student visa: To apply for a student pass, you must first be offered a full-time course and you need to have accepted the same from an educational institute in Singapore. Once you have been accepted into any educational institute you are eligible to apply online for the visa through the Students Pass On-Line

Application and Registration (SOLAR) System, accessible at

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