The Singapore Government provides the CPF Education Scheme under which you can use your Ordinary Account (OA) savings to pay for your own, spouse’s, or children's’ subsidised education fees. This scheme is really helpful when it comes to managing your or your loved one’s educational expenses. The applications to use CPF savings will, however, be subject to review on case-by-case basis.
With this loan scheme, you can withdraw up to the withdrawal limit available. The withdrawal limit is either fixed at 40% of the OA savings accumulated or the OA balance that remains, depending on whichever is lower.
Features and Benefits of the Scheme
The primary features and benefits of the CPF Education Scheme include:
- First and foremost, you can use this loan scheme to pay for your own, your spouse’s, your siblings’ or your child’s subsidised fee for an approved course at an approved institution.
- You can use this scheme to pay up to 100% of the tuition fees. But, in case you’re covering for tuition fees of relatives, you can only cover up to 50% of the total fees.
- The repayment must be made starting one year following graduation or termination of studies, depending on whichever happens earlier.
- In certain cases, students also get the option of deferring payments.
- You also have the option of applying for loan repayment waiver, provided you meet the eligibility requirement for such waiver.
- The repayment for this loan can be either made in one lump sum, or in monthly instalments.
- You can make repayments over a maximum tenure of 12 years. Students can use GIRO arrangement or any other mode approved by CPF Board for making repayments.
- You can apply for this loan scheme online using my cpf or through mail.
Eligibility to Apply for CPF Education Scheme
The CPF Education Scheme can be applied for by both you and the student. However, you must ensure meeting the following conditions to qualify for this loan:
- You must use your OA savings to pay for the tution fees.
- The savings in your OA account and your available withdrawal limit enough to cover the funds required.
- You must register for a subsidised full-time diploma/degree at one of the approved educational institutions. You can check out the complete list of approved institutions here.
- Besides, you would need a guarantor to apply for the CPF Education Scheme in case you are a foreigner.
How the Scheme Works
Once your application is approved for a full-time subsidised course at one of the approved institutions, you can borrow up to 40% of the withdrawal limit available on your OA savings, or the remaining OA balance, depending on whichever is lower. You can use this loan scheme to pay up to 100% of your tuition fees, subject to the withdrawal limit.
The repayment must be initiated a year after you graduate or decide on terminating the course, depending on whichever happens earlier. The loan repayment details will be sent to you three months before it commences. You can also choose to initiate the repayment earlier. The repayment will include the principal sum along with the accrued interest in cash to the CPF account. You can save on interest charges by clearing off the loan amount as soon as possible.
Once you withdraw from your OA savings, the interest will start accruing on the loan amount until it has been cleared in full. The rate of interest on the loan is pegged to the Ordinary Account rate, which is reviewed once in every three months. For the April-June 2018 quarter, the OA interest rate was 3.5% p.a. The interest on your loan will be calculated on a monthly basis.
Difference Between CPF Education Scheme and MOE Tuition Fee Loan Scheme
The interest rates accrued on your CPF Education Scheme and MOE Tuition Fee Loan Scheme is different and will depend on the period within which you can pay back the loan amount. Taking a CPF Education Scheme usually turns out cheaper only if you’re making repayments over a longer tenure, following graduation. However, if the tenure for repayment following graduation is short, opting for an MOE Tuition Scheme could be more efficient.
In case of MOE Tuition Fee Loan Scheme, no interest charges would be accrued on your loan amount during the course of the study. However, in case of CPF Education Scheme, interest charges start accruing from the very moment funds are deducted from your Ordinary Account.
How to Use OA Savings for Tuition Fees
You can withdraw up to the available withdrawal limit on your OA savings to pay up to 100% of your tuition fees. The available withdrawal limit is fixed at 40% of your OA savings accumulated or the OA balance that remains, determined based on whichever is lower.
The percentage of tuition fees covered under the CPF Education Scheme will differ if you’re paying for your relative(s). The percentage distribution, in this case, is given below:
- You can cover up to 10% of your relatives’ tuition fees if the course pursued is under a foreign specialised institution listed under the Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution (Poly-FSI) framework.
- You can cover up to 25% of your relatives’ tuition fees if he/she is studying polytechnic or Technical Engineer Diploma (TED) or a Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts at Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
- You can cover up to 50% of your relatives’ tuition fees if the course pursued is available at an arts college.
You can also apply for the MOE Tuition Fee Loan Scheme depending on the eligibility criteria to cover the remaining amount of the tuition fees.
How to Repay the Money Borrowed Under This Scheme
If you have borrowed under this scheme, you could use GIRO arrangement to repay the loan amount. You can also use other modes of repayment as long as it’s approved by the CPF Board. Repayments can be made in a lump sum or you can repay in the form of monthly instalments.
Usually, GIRO arrangement is considered the easiest and popular repayment mode if you’re paying in monthly instalments as the amount is automatically deducted every month. You must, however, download, fill, and submit the GIRO application form to opt for this repayment mode.
When Can You Defer Repayments?
You can apply for deferment of repayments as a student when:
- You are serving a full-time National Service.
- You are studying in a full-time course.
- You are unemployed.
When Can You Get Waiver on Repayments?
You can request a waiver of repayment on your CPF Education Scheme for the following set of reasons:
- You can request for waiver if you belong to the age group of 55 years or more and you have kept aside your full or basic retirement sum along with sufficient property pledge in your Retirement Account.
- You can also apply for a waiver if you have to withdraw from your CPF savings due to medical reasons.
- If you’re leaving Singapore and West Malaysia permanently, you can check for a waiver of repayment.
Things to Consider Before Opting for This Scheme
Before applying for the CPF Education Scheme, you must consider the following aspects:
- There are other options available in Singapore to finance your tertiary education. You must do a thorough research of the market to find a loan scheme that best fits your requirements.
- When you’re opting for the CPF Education Scheme, you’re withdrawing from savings in your Ordinary Account. It could affect your housing or retirement planning. You must keep this in mind before opting for the CPF Education Scheme.
- There is a list of Approved Educational Institutions under the CPF Board where the CPF Education Scheme is applicable. You must ensure that the degree/diploma course you’re applying for is available in one of the listed colleges and that you’re eligible for the course in the loan application tenure.
- You must also ensure that the amount you withdraw from your Ordinary Account is sufficient to cover a significant fraction of your tuition fees, if not full. The ideal situation would be where you are able to fully pay your course fee using the loan scheme.
- Before applying for the CPF Education Scheme, you must estimate the loan repayment period and calculate the additional interest charges that you might have to pay on the loan amount.
How to Apply for the CPF Education Scheme
You can apply for the CPF Education Scheme in one of the following ways:
- Apply online using my cpf
- If you’re a student, you must login using SingPass details.
- You will have to submit the application using My Requests.
- Once you submit the application, you will receive a URL within two days in the email address you have provided in the application form.
- 14 days post the application, you must login using your SingPass details to acknowledge and agree to the use of your CPF Savings. If you fail to do so, your application will be rejected.
- Apply through mail
- Foreign students or students under the Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution (Poly FSI) framework will need to download the Application for Use of CPF Savings under the Education Scheme, fill it, and mail the hard copy to the chosen institution before the deadline mentioned.
While applying online through my cpf, both the CPF member and the ward/student will be involved in the process. You can check the application status at any point through the CPF website.
How to Apply for Deferring Repayments
You can apply for deferring repayments on the CPF Education Scheme upon meeting certain terms and conditions, in one of the following ways:
- Apply online through my cpf
- Login to your my cpf account using your SingPass details.
- Conclude the application process by submitting a deferment application through My Requests.
- Apply using mail
- Download “CPF Education Scheme Application for Deferment of Repayment” form and fill it completely.
- Mail the completed form to Central Provident Fund Board, Education Scheme Section, Robinson Road, P.O. Box 3060, Singapore 905060.
Online applications generally take shorter processing time and you can check the status of deferment application through CPF website.
How to Apply for Waiver
Applying for waiver of repayments is pretty similar to how you apply for deferment. You can only apply for a waiver on repayments only if you meet certain terms and conditions. You can choose to apply online through my cpf using your SingPass details.
If you’re applying through mail, you must download, complete, and mail the “CPF Education Scheme Application for Waiver of Repayment” form to the relevant mailing address. Even in case of repayment waiver application, online applications take shorter processing time and you can check the application status through CPF website.
Application Schedule for Approved Institutions
The application schedule for Approved Educational Institutions with application deadline still extending under the CPF Education Scheme is presented below:
|Name of the Institution||Academic Year||Semester||Opening date for Application||Closing date for Application|
|Nanyang Technological University||2018 - 2019||001||1 June 2018||31 July 2018|
|Singapore Management University||2018 - 2019||1||1 June 2018||31 July 2018|
|Singapore Institute of Technology||2018 - 2019||001||1 June 2018||30 June 2018|
|Lasalle College of the Arts||2018 - 2019||001||1 June 2018||17 August 2018|
|Singapore University of Social Sciences||2018 - 2019||001||1 June 2018||15 July 2018|
|Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts||2018 - 2019||001||28 May 2018||27 July 2018|
Application Deadlines You Have Missed in 2018
The deadline for the following colleges are over:
|Name of the Institution||Academic Year||Semester||Opening date for Application||Closing date for Application|
|Singapore University of Technology and Design||2018 - 2018||002||1 March 2018||4 May 2018|
|National University of Singapore||2017 - 2018||03A||2 April 2018||27 April 2018|
|Institute of Technical Education||2018 - 2019||001||26 February 2018||16 March 2018|
|Singapore Polytechnic||2018 - 2019||001||5 February 2018||30 April 2018|
|Republic Polytechnic||2018 - 2019||001||16 February 2018||15 April 2018|
|Nanyang Polytechnic||2018 - 2019||001||1 February 2018||30 April 2018|
|Ngee Ann Polytechnic||2018 - 2019||001||15 February 2018||27 April 2018|
|Temasek Polytechnic||2018 - 2019||001||1 February 2018||11 April 2018|
Q. Is there a way to check the percentage of CPF Savings I can use for education?
A. Yes, you can login to your my cpf account using SingPass details and visit the “My Statement” section. You will find the Statement of Available Withdrawal Limit for Education here.
Q. Can I check the reasons as to why my application for CPF Education Scheme was rejected?
A. Yes, you can check the reason for rejection by logging in the CPF website and clicking on “My Activities”.
Q. Can I use my CPF savings to pay for tuition fees of my children, if I have already used the loan scheme to pay tuition fees of my other children?
A. As long as you have the available withdrawal limit for education in your Ordinary Account, you can use your CPF savings to pay tuition fees of your other children.
Q. If the application period has closed, can I still apply for the CPF Education Scheme?
A. You can’t apply for this loan scheme once the application period for a certain course under a particular institution is over.
Q. Can I use savings from my CPF accounts other than the Ordinary Account under the CPF Education Scheme?
A. No, you can only withdraw from savings in your Ordinary Account.