Which Polytechnic Is Best and How Much Do You Have to Pay?
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Which Polytechnic Is Best and How Much Do You Have to Pay?

Jacqueline Yan
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Checking out the open houses before getting your results on 13 Jan 2020?

I think I still remember how it felt sitting in my secondary school hall with all of my schoolmates, anxiously waiting for our turn to collect our GCE ‘O’ Level result.

students waiting in school hall for o level results
Source: CNA

Boy, it was nerve-racking…

It’s worse if you’ve already shortlisted a few polytechnic courses in mind and you know the cut-off points you’ll need to meet.

Sorry if this made you feel worse!

But let’s take a look at how much your dream polytechnic course will cost you and how you can finance your studies!


TL;DR – How Can I Finance My Polytechnic Programme?

grants, bursaries and subsidies to finance polytechnic education

Did you know, regardless of the polytechnic and course you choose, your subsidised annual tuition fee will be $2,900?

The only difference is that the five polytechnics have their own supplementary fees, which differs slightly.

Supplementary Fees for Nanyang PolytechnicNgee Ann Polytechnic
(2019 Fees)
Republic PolytechnicSingapore PolytechnicTemasek Polytechnic
Singapore Citizens$85.40$61.40$70.50$91.09$85.90
Permanent Residents$115.40$91.40$100.50$121.09$115.90
International Students$148.60$127.50$143.50$157.19$149.10

Even with the MOE Tuition Grant, it’s still quite a large sum of money to cough up every year, so here are some financial schemes you can take to help finance your polytechnic education.

Financial SchemesEligibility Criteria Eligible Amount
CDC/CCC Polytechnic BursarySingapore Citizen students pursuing full time diploma programmes PCI: Below $690
GHI: Below $2,750
$2,150 per year
PCI: Between $691 to $1,000
GHI: Between $2,751 to $4,000
$2,350 per year
MOE BursarySingapore Citizen students pursuing full time diploma programmes PCI: Between $1,000 to $1,725
GHI: Between $4,001 to $6,900
$1,650 per year
PCI: Between $1,726 to $2,250
GHI: Between $6,901 to $9,000
$800 per year
PSEA SchemeSingapore Citizen students pursuing full time diploma programmesUp to 100% of Tuition Fee
CPF Education Scheme- Singapore Citizen students pursuing full time diploma programmes
- Permanent residents and international students with Tuition Grant deed
Up to 100% of Tuition Fee
MENDAKI Tuition Fee SubsidySingapore Citizen and Permanent Residents of Malay descent pursuing full time diploma programmesPCI: $1,400 & below50% of Tuition Fee
PCI: Between $1,401 and $1,700 75% of Tuition Fee
PCI: Between $1,701 and $2,000 100% of Tuition Fee
Tuition Fee Loan- Singapore Citizen students pursuing full time diploma programmes
- Permanent residents and international students with Tuition Grant deed
Up to 75% of Tuition Fee
Government Study Loan- Permanent residents and international students with Tuition Grant deed Must have taken up Tuition Fee Loan, MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy or used CPF Education SchemeUp to 25% of Tuition Fee & $2,000 for Living Expenses
Diploma Foundation Programme BursarySingaporeans pursuing Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) PCI: Below $690
GHI: Below $2,750
$970 for DFP

What Are the Different Polytechnics in Singapore?

Okay, let’s backtrack a little.

If you’re looking to pursue your post-secondary education at a polytechnic, you currently have five options to choose from:

  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Republic Polytechnic
  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Temasek Polytechnic

When Will the Polytechnics’ Open House Be Held?

Have a few courses in mind but you have so many questions unanswered and it’s hindering your decision-making process?

Fret not, just free up your schedule from 9 to 11 Jan 2020 to attend the Open Houses held by the polytechnics at their respective campuses!

You’ll get to go on campus tours, attend admissions talks, and speak to lecturers and seniors to have a better understanding of the courses you’re interested in.


How Much Will My Polytechnic Education Cost?

Tuition Fee

Good news, everyone!

With the Joint Admissions Exercise following shortly after the release of your GCE ‘O’ Level results, you don’t have to worry about paying more just because you prefer a particular polytechnic.

That’s because the annual subsidised tuition fees are the same for all 5 polytechnics, regardless of the programme you choose!

Plus, polytechnic tuition fees are fixed per cohort, so you’ll be paying the same amount each year for your entire course of study.

Admission Year (Academic) Singapore Citizens
(excl. GST)
Permanent Residents
(excl. GST)
International Students
(incl. GST)
Subsidised Course Fees Per Academic Year$2,900$6,000$10,800
Total Subsidised Course Fees
(3 years)
$8,700$18,000$32,400

As long as it’s your first time applying for a full-time polytechnic diploma course as a Singapore Citizen, you’ll be eligible for the MOE Tuition Grant (TG) scheme.

The MOE Tuition Grant is also available for Permanent Residents with a small condition – you’ll have to work in a Singapore entity for three years after upon your graduation.

Nope, the exclusion of GST ain’t a typo!

For Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, the GST for your tuition fee is absorbed by the Government.

Even though the tuition fees above are per annum, you’ll be making your payments each semester.

Supplementary Fees

The only reason why you might pay slightly more for a particular polytechnic is due to their respective supplementary fees.

Supplementary fees typically go towards facilities maintenances examination fees, insurance and student union fees and more.

Supplementary Fees for Nanyang PolytechnicNgee Ann Polytechnic
(2019 Fees)
Republic PolytechnicSingapore PolytechnicTemasek Polytechnic
Singapore Citizens$85.40$61.40$70.50$91.09$85.90
Permanent Residents$115.40$91.40$100.50$121.09$115.90
International Students$148.60$127.50$143.50$157.19$149.10

Just take note that this work a little differently from your tuition fees as supplementary fees are payable during your first semester of each academic year.

Sorry folks, the supplementary fees for Ngee Ann Polytechnic ain’t available on their website yet. Even calling the school itself yielded no numbers and they suggested that it won’t be too far from 2019’s fees.


How Can I Finance My Polytechnic Programme?

Even with the MOE Tuition Grant, polytechnic fees can make up a large part of your family’s household expenses.

Bursaries & Grants

While there’s always the option of using your parents’ CPF Ordinary Account monies or taking a tuition fee loan, you can first explore the following government-funded bursaries such as MOE Bursary to lighten the load.

 Eligibility Gross Monthly Household Per Capital Income
(PCI)
Gross Monthly Household Income (GHI)Amount per Academic Year
CDC/CCC Polytechnic BursarySingaporeans pursuing full time diploma programmesBelow $690Below $2,750$2,350
Between $691 to $1,000Between $2,751 to $4,000$2,150
MOE BursarySingaporeans pursuing full time diploma programmesBetween $1,000 to $1,725Between $4,001 to $6,900$1,650
Between $1,726 to $2,250Between $6,901 to $9,000$800
Diploma Foundation Programme BursarySingaporeans pursuing Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) Below $690Below $2,750$970

There are also several private donor bursaries made possible through donations from charitable individuals and organisations. As these private donor bursaries usually have specific eligibility criteria, do visit the respective institutions to find out more.

Financial Aid

Post Secondary Education Account (PSEA) Scheme

That’s right, as the name suggests, you’ll be able to use the monies in your Post Secondary Education Account (PSEA) for your polytechnic fees.

In fact, if your siblings have monies in their PSEA and won’t be using them, you can also use their PSEA funds to finance your studies!

Depending on the balance available, you can use your PSEA funds to cover up to 100% of your tuition fee and other fees.

CPF Education Scheme

CPF logo

I know, you probably haven’t even started working so you may not have any funds in your CPF Ordinary Account.

But your parents can choose to use up to 40% of their CPF Ordinary Account monies to pay for up to 100% of your tuition fee.

Even if you used your own CPF monies, the amount used will have to be repaid, including all accrued interest.

You have up to 12 years to repay the amount used and you’ll need to start your repayments one year after graduation.

MENDAKI Tuition Fee Subsidy

yayasan mendaki logo

If you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident of Malay descent enrolled in a full-time diploma programme, you can apply for the MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy if the household Per Capital Income is less than $2,000.

 Gross Monthly Household Per Capital Income
(PCI)
Amount per Academic Year
Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) for Malays (Mendaki)$1,400 & below100%
$1,401 to $1,70075%
$1,701 to $2,00050%

Tuition Fee Loan

If your household does not qualify for any of the above schemes, you can also consider taking a Tuition Fee Loan from DBS to cover up to 75% of your tuition fee.

Interest for your Tuition Fee Loan will only start after you graduate, and you’ll have up to 10 years to repay the amount you’ve loaned.

Government Study Loan

The Government Study Loan only kicks in if you’ve taken the Tuition Fee Loan as mentioned above, the MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy, or used the CPF Education Scheme.

If you’ve taken the Tuition Fee Loan, you can take a further loan of up to 25% of your tuition fee, along with a maximum of $2,000 to cover your living expenses.

Otherwise, if your tuition fee is fully covered by the remaining financial aid schemes, you can loan up to $2,000 for your living expenses.

However, for this Government Study Loan, you’ll need to start repayment 6 months after your graduation, and you’ll only have up to 2 to 5 years to finish repaying this loan, depending on the monthly per capita income.


Which Polytechnic is Best?

Singapore Polytechnics Logo

With the financial aspect of your polytechnic programme out of the way, you’ll be able to choose your course of study based on your interest and passion!

Or maybe, based on the distance from your house…

Technically, there’s no official ranking for the different polytechnics, so it’s hard to say which is best.

However, there are some polys that are known for certain courses:

Polytechnics in Singapore
Nanyang PolytechnicDigital Media, Infocomm & Nursing
Ngee Ann PolytechnicBusiness
Republic PolytechnicSports Science
Singapore PolytechnicEngineering
Temasek PolytechnicLaw & Design

P.S.: These opinions are all our own and with reference to online reviews and forums, don’t come knocking on our door if you don’t do well…

About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
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