Part-time uni, poly students to pay lower tuition fees from next year
MOE says 2,100 Singaporean part-time students will benefit from higher bursaries next year
She gave up studies to work and help her siblings through school.
Mother of four Tan Ling Ling, who was working as an administrative officer at a primary school, was ready to return to school part-time and pursue a diploma in business practice when tragedy struck.
Her 12-year-old son was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, a type of cancer, in 2017.
The medical bills strained the family's financial resources, but husband and wife struggled on.
A year after her son's recovery, Ms Tan, now 46, went on to enrol part-time in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) last year to pursue her diploma.
She received good news yesterday when the Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement that about 2,100 Singaporean part-time undergraduates and diploma students will benefit from increased bursaries next year, with the Government investing $2.8 million a year for part-time students, up from the current $1.8 million.
Part-time students in universities and polytechnics on bursaries will also pay lower tuition fees from next year, just like their peers studying full time.
In particular, those in the bottom income group - whose gross monthly household income is $4,000 or less, or monthly household income a head is $1,000 or less - will get more financial support.
Ms Tan spent six months caring for her son in hospital and the family used up much of its savings on medical costs.
She is grateful for the financial boost and told The New Paper: "I want to continue learning to ensure I remain relevant and have more opportunities so that I can better support my family."
The MOE said yesterday that part-time undergraduates in the lower-income group earning $4,000 or less will receive $2,500 a year in bursaries, up from $1,350 previously, while part-time diploma students will get $800 instead of $600.
Part-time university students from the next tier of families - whose gross monthly household income is $4,001 to $6,900 - will get $1,600 in yearly bursaries. Those in polytechnic will get $660.
This is also an increase from the current bursary amounts of $1,350 and $600 respectively.
Part-time undergraduates and diploma students whose gross monthly household income is $6,901 to $9,000 will continue to get yearly bursaries of $700 and $300 respectively.
The bursary for part-timers will also be known as the Higher Education Bursary from next year, said the MOE.
Single mother, Ms Shahira Harun, 43, a public relations officer, will also be getting more help to pay her school fees.
She supports two teenage children and her elderly mother, and is also pursuing a diploma in business practice at NYP.
Madam Shahira, who feels she can now spend more time with her family, said: "The bursary allows me to continue pursuing my diploma, which I have always wanted to do."
The higher bursaries mean part-time diploma students from the lowest-income group will pay $100 a year, down from the current $300, while part-time degree students from the same tier will pay $2,000 a year, compared to $3,150 now.
New and existing Singaporean students enrolled in publicly funded part-time courses at all five polytechnics and the autonomous universities that offer such programmes are eligible for the financial support.
Students at MOE's National Institute of Early Childhood Development will also benefit.