How Much Can You Expect to Spend on Your Child’s Tertiary Education?

Saving up for university adds to the many responsibilities of a parent, one in which ample preparation is necessary even if there might still remain many years before the time for university approaches.

Attending a tertiary institution marks a period of every child’s education journey where he or she will potentially decide on the path to be taken in the beginning years of their career.

As a parent, supporting your child in this meaningful adventure first constitutes the ability to financially sustain the cost of a university education. This will allow you to give your child the assurance and added confidence to pursue their aspirations in university.


The situation here in Singapore 

According to government figures, the cost of university fees in Singapore have increased by approximately 1.5 per cent every year since 2010. With fees at local universities following an upward trend, overseas options will no doubt demand similar rising costs when compared to local institutions.

Fortunately for Singapore citizens, the Ministry of Education Tuition Grant automatically subsidises university course fees. With regards to Permanent Residents, application for the Tuition Grant can also be made, but this comes with the condition of having to work in a Singapore entity for three years upon graduation.

Getting a clearer picture of current university fees will help you to predict the cost of a university degree at the time of your child’s enrolment. Assuming that your child is a Singapore citizen, the approximate breakdown of 3-year course fees can be seen in the table below:


School Estimated subsidised fees Exclusions
NUS $25,700 Dentistry (4 years) – $113,600

Law (4 years) – $50,600

Medicine (5 years) – $142,000

Music (4 years) – $53,800

Other honours courses (4 years) – $34,300

NTU $26,000 Medicine (5 years) – $166,000

Renaissance Engineering (4.5 years) – $78,800

Other honours courses (4 years) – $34,600

SMU $34,400 Law (4 years) – $50,600
SIT $23,900 4-year programmes – $31,920

Radiography, Occupational Therapy (4 years) – $36,200

SUTD $39,200 SUTD Special Programmes – fees vary
SUSS $31,400 Accountancy $33,400

Part-Time Programmes – $15,200 – $22,000

Lasalle $29,200 N.A.
NAFA $36,000 (3 year diploma + 1 year honours course) N.A.

*Numbers are rounded off to the nearest $100

The rise in popularity of private institutions have also seen these schools becoming an alternative choice to local universities. Although private universities are not subsidised by the government, they often offer part-time or shorter degree courses where a shorter schooling duration might make up for higher course fees.

There are many private universities that can be chosen from, schools such as Curtin and Kaplan offer courses in the usual range of $19,000 to $35,000 while more expensive programmes can be found at JCU for example, where courses can cost above $50,000. Whether local or private, it is evident that course fees can demand a high price.

A 2016 study by the Economic Intelligence Unit predicts that a 4-year degree will cost 70.2 per cent of an individual’s average yearly income in 2030, an increase from 53.1 per cent in 2015. Rising costs are inevitable, which is why taking the crucial step toward early financial preparation should be an important consideration for every parent.  


Other costs related to a university education

As expected, attending university comes with costs other than course fees alone. Living on-campus, participating in an exchange programme or going on community service trips can contribute to the overall university bill. A single semester of on-campus accommodation for local universities cost an approximate of $2,000 in a hall of residence.

An exchange programme, taking into account the living and travel costs on top of tuition fees of the overseas partner university, can require an estimated $8,000 onwards for universities in Asia, to even $15,000 for programmes in Europe.


Planning ahead for a tertiary education fund

A tertiary education can evidently come with a significant price tag. Factoring in inflation and a rising cost of living are also necessary precautions, as these will surely affect the price of your child’s university degree, and can help you to make better predictions.

Singaporean parents are found to rank high on global charts with regard to the amount we spend on children’s education, even in the education journey way before the lead-up to university. A long-term approach to saving up for tertiary education can help you to more comfortably finance a university degree and the other costs associated with it.

Starting early provides you with the longer time horizon you need to amply prepare for financing your child’s tertiary education expenses, an important investment that a parent should never compromise on making.

You might find that an insurance plan geared toward helping you save up to fulfil your child’s education goals can help you in this endeavour.

If you are interested to find out more, please do contact us and we will be delighted to explore the ways in which an education insurance plan can be tailored to the timeframe of your children’s education journey!