Cash woes? A personal loan to the rescue!

Your Trusted Guide on NUS Financial Assistance Schemes

Have you been accepted into your dream education programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS)? Congrats! But? Worried that you or your family won’t be able to bear the high tuition fees and living expenses?

NUS offers a number of prestigious and student-friendly financial aids. If you’re a deserving candidate, you can come to NUS to fulfil your potential.

The university will make a number of helpful resources available to you. If you can use them well, you may be able to manage the programme fees and living costs without too many hiccups.

Popular NUS Financial Assistance Schemes That You Should Be Aware of

NUS financial aid comprises a series of externally as well as internally administered schemes. External schemes include Tuition Fee Loan (TFL), MENDAKI Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS), CPF Education Scheme (CES), and Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) Scheme.

NUS offers a number of other aids such as:

  • NUS Study Loan
  • CDC/CCC Bursary
  • NUS Student Assistance Loan
  • NUS Donated/Faculty Bursary
  • Residential Programme Bursary/UTown Bursaries
  • MOE Bursary
  • Work-Study Assistance

We’re going to take a closer look at these programmes individually in this article. The above list may not be exhaustive.

Important NUS-Administered Student Schemes

Here are some of the most important ones:

NUS Study Loan

NUS Study loan is available to eligible undergraduate students in the university. It is tenable throughout the course duration of qualified programmes. Depending on your level of neediness, you’ll receive a loan which could be interest-free or interest-bearing.

You may receive up to 20% of the subsidised tuition fee payable by a Singaporean, a living allowance of up to S$3,600, or both. If you get an interest-bearing loan, you’ll have to start paying interest only after you graduate. The interest rate will be an average of the prevailing prime lending rates of DBS, UOB, and OCBC.

If your loan is free of interest, you can stretch your payment up to 5 years. If it is interest-bearing, you can stretch your payment up to 20 years.

NUS Student Assistance Loans

This loan is tenable through the entire duration of your undergraduate programme. The quantum of loan will depend on your nationality, level of neediness, and availability of funds. NUS offers this loan in association with certain private donors.

Assistance is offered through the following funds:

  • Alumni Student Loan Fund
  • NUS Management Loan Fund
  • Daisy Pang Student’s Loan Fund
  • NUS Society Students’ Loan Fund
  • Golden Jubilee Loan Fund
  • NUS Students’ Loan Fund
  • Hong Leong Foundation Loan Fund
  • NUSSU Students’ Loan Fund
  • Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Loan Fund
  • Shaw Foundation Loan Fund
  • Lien Foundation Loan Fund
  • Singapore Turf Club Loan Fund
  • Ng See Yook Loan Fund
  • Students’ Assistance Loan Fund
  • James & Mei Loh Student Loan Fund

You’ll be eligible if satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • You have received NUS Study Loan with the living allowance component. You may also appeal for a one-time top-up, subject to conditions.
  • You’re a recipient of ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • You’re a recipient of NUS Faculty Scholarships.
  • You’re a recipient of NUS Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • You’re a recipient of University Engineering Scholarship.
  • You’re a recipient of other qualified schemes.

It’s an interest-free document. The tenure will depend on the value of the loan. It can vary between 3 years and 5 years. You can repay the loan in a single lump sum or in monthly instalments.

Overseas Student Exchange Programme (SEP) Loan

You may apply for this loan if you’re an undergraduate student who satisfies either of the following conditions:

  • Under a student exchange programme, you’re getting to complete 1 or 2 semesters at a partner foreign university.
  • You’re going to a foreign university for summer training.

Through this interest-free loan, you could receive assistance of up to S$3,000 per semester. The maximum tenure is 3 years for loans not exceeding S$3,000 and 4 years for loans that exceed S$3,000. You can settle the loan through one lump sum or in instalments.

Overseas Student Programme (OSP) Loan

This loan is administered by NUS and is offered to eligible NUS undergraduate students who have been accepted into NUS-approved overseas study programmes. Depending on the nature of your overseas programme, you may receive financial assistance between S$2,000 and S$10,000.

The scheme aims to cover part or full of the following expenses:

  • Airfare
  • Medical/health insurance
  • Living expenses
  • Immigration charges and other administrative costs
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Stationery charges

Only Singaporeans are eligible for this programme. Also, you won’t be eligible if you’re already a recipient of some other financial assistance. You’ll be entitled to this loan only once during your course of study. The maximum loan tenure is 5 years. You can repay the loan in instalments or in one lump sum. Repayment should commence no later than 2 years after you graduate or secure employment, whichever is earlier.

Popular Bursaries Administered by the Office of Financial Aid, NUS

Here are some bursaries that are offered under the supervision of the Office of Financial Aid:

NUS Donated Bursaries

This loan can be used by needy undergraduate students, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions. The yearly quantum of each bursary is S$1,000 or more. These bursaries are usually offered in July or August every year. These are funded by private donors.

You may apply if and only if a maximum of 80% of the tuition fee payable by Singaporeans is covered by CES, TFL, TTFS, or PSES schemes. You may be allowed to concurrently hold this bursary with other assistance schemes, subject to conditions.

Each bursary will be valid for 1 year. You’ll have to make fresh applications at the beginning of each academic year.

MOE Bursary

Singaporeans enrolled in full-time undergraduate courses, and whose monthly per capita household income don’t exceed S$2,250 or whose gross monthly household income don’t exceed S$9,000 are eligible for this assistance. The maximum quantum of this bursary is S$2,700.

You can’t concurrently hold this bursary with CDC/CCC bursary. You also can’t concurrently hold other scholarships, free aids, or bursaries with this bursary without the university’s knowledge and consent. You may be eligible if:

  • You’re paying full-fee for your undergraduate course and have transferred from another university or taken readmission. You won’t be eligible if you already hold a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree.
  • You’re a graduate LL.B student with TG from MOE.
  • You’re receiving government assistance/subsidies for part-time undergraduate degree courses and have been assessed to be needy.

CDC/CCC Bursary

The Office of Financial Aid, NUS co-administers this bursary with the respective CDC or CCC. It is usually available to full-time undergraduate students with a monthly per capita household income of S$1,000 or less, or a gross monthly household income of S$4,000 or less. You can receive assistance of up to S$4,000 with this bursary.

If you’re already receiving the MOE Bursary, you won’t be eligible for this aid. You also can’t simultaneously hold this bursary with other government subsidies, aids, and scholarships without taking permission from NUS. Certain bursaries/scholarships/awards may be held concurrently with this bursary.

You may also apply if:

  • You’re a graduate LL.B students with MOE TG.
  • You’re a part-time undergraduate students pursuing your degree for the first time and aren’t holding qualifications higher than a bachelor’s degree.
  • You’re a readmitted/transferred undergraduate student paying full fees and not holding degrees higher than a bachelor’s degree already.

This award is valid for one year. You’ll have to make a fresh application at the start of each academic year.

Residential Programme Bursaries

This bursary is available to needy undergraduate students who reside in one of the 5 qualified colleges or halls of residence. The value of this bursary is at least S$400 and may go up depending on your level of neediness. It is tenable for 1 year. Hence, you’ll have to reapply every year.

Students from the following residential college programmes will be considered:

  • Residential College 4
  • Cinnamon College (USP)
  • College of Alice & Peter Tan
  • Ridge View Residential College
  • Tembusu College

Students residing in the following student halls may also apply:

  • Kent Ridge Hall
  • Eusoff Hall
  • King Edward VII Hall
  • Temasek Hall
  • Sheares Hall
  • Raffles Hall

Students reading the PGP House programme may also apply. Certain conditions may apply.

You may not be able to concurrently hold other bursaries, grants, or scholarships with this bursary without prior approval of NUS.

UTown Bursaries and Other Financial Assistance Programmes

If you’re an NUS undergraduate student residing in one of the residential colleges in UTown, you may be eligible. You’ll also have to be enrolled in one of the following programmes to be considered:

  • Ridge View Residential College Programme
  • University Town College Programme (UTCP)
  • University Scholars Programme (USP)

Are you concurrently receiving financial assistance from your residential college and also other forms of government aid, scholarship, or bursary? You’ll be informed whether you can hold both. At its discretion, the university can withdraw the award/aid with the lower quantum.

Check this page for the full list of bursaries and scholarships available.

Bursaries for Students Involved in Community-Related Services

The following bursaries are available for students with demonstrable and proven interest in community services:

Chen Su Lan Student Bursary

If you’re a needy undergraduate student with proven record of community service, you may apply. The value of the scholarship is S$5,000 p.a. You must be ready to choose a field of work that can uplift the underprivileged sections of the society. To be eligible, you’ll:

  • Have to provide proof of your participation in any form of community service (for the present and the past 2 years).
  • Have to provide proof of financial hardship. You must apply for Financial Aid through NUS Office of Financial Aid first.

If you’re studying an undergraduate concurrent degree programme and have been charged graduate fees, you won’t be eligible. You may also not be concurrently eligible for this bursary and other financial awards and aids without seeking approval from the Office of Financial Aid. This bursary will be tenable for 1 year.

GIC Sparks & Smiles Award

If you have a proven track record in the field of community service and want to work in a field that would alleviate poverty or uplift the disadvantaged, this bursary could be ideal for you. You’ll also have to prove your neediness to be considered.

You’ll have to provide proof of your participation in community-service related activities in the last 2 years. You’ll also have to apply for Financial Aid at NUS. This award is tenable for 1 year. The bursary quantum is S$5,000 p.a.

If you receive this bursary, you’ll also have to mandatorily enrol in a customised community and leadership programme. As a part of the programme, you’ll have to serve as a mentor to disadvantaged Singaporean children/youths for at least 25 hours.

Popular Bursaries Administered by Other NUS Offices and Affiliates

The following are the bursaries that are provided under the supervision of other NUS offices, residential colleges, halls, departments, and faculties:

NUS Awards for Study Abroad (NASA) Bursaries (Administered by International Relations Office): This university encourages its students to participate in overseas study and experiential learning programmes. Financial assistance can be offered through the following bursaries:

Loh Boon Chye & Family SEP Awards: Up to 3 such awards are offered every year. These awards aim to offer financial assistance to NUS students who may be studying in China, the United States, or the United Kingdom through student exchange programmes.

NUS Awards for Study Abroad-NASA Exchange Bursary: This award is offered to deserving students on a need basis. It will be offered only to eligible students who’re abroad on student exchange programmes.

NUS Awards for Study Abroad-NASA Enhancement Bursary: This award is available to NUS undergraduate students on a need basis. It is offered only for short, special overseas programmes administered by IRO.

NUS Awards for Study Abroad-NASA Degree Bursary: This award is available to eligible NUS students on a need basis. Students in selected double, concurrent, or joint programmes offered in association with foreign universities, may apply.

SEP Award for the Community Spirited: This award is available to students who have been actively involved in community building exercises consistently. It is offered when such NUS students go abroad for studies through student exchange programmes. 8 such awards are given every year and the value of each award is S$6,000.

Bursaries Administered by the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS)

The following bond-free scholarships are available to meritorious students in this department:

  • Mr and Mrs Ngiam Fook Quee Memorial Scholarship
  • Ian and Peony Ferguson Scholarship
  • FASS Student Advancement Scholarship
  • Kenneth Kam Scholarship
  • Tan Keong Choon and Tan Keng Hean Scholarship
  • Ng Peck Lian and Tan Teng Hian Scholarship

The faculty also offers some bursaries. To be eligible for a FASS bursary, you must be a recipient of an NUS Bursary. If your application is accepted, you’ll be informed starting September. You may not be able to simultaneously enjoy assistance from the Office of Financial Aid, NUS and this faculty.

If you do, you’ll be informed whether you can hold both. The university may, at its absolute discretion, let you retain the aids but adjust the quantum or it may withdraw the one with the lower value.

The following bursaries are offered by FASS:

  • FASS Student Advancement Bursary
  • LBKM Merit Bursary
  • Straits Trading-Howe Yoon Chong Bursary
  • Chew Teck Neo Bursary
  • Mr and Mrs Lee Wai Kin Bursary

You’ll be able to apply for faculty bursaries and scholarships through the Office of Financial Aid. However, you won’t be able to indicate specific bursaries or scholarships that you wish to be considered for. If the university finds you to be eligible for financial assistance, it will grant one at its discretion.

Bursaries and Scholarships Administered by the Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law administers certain bursaries and scholarships. To be eligible for one, you’ll have to apply through the Office of Financial Aid.

Needy, final-year undergraduate students of this school may be considered for the Saw Swee Hock Bursary, which is offered at the University level.

Students may also be eligible for the following faculty-level donated bursaries:

  • Class of 1982 Bursary
  • Class of 1983 Bursary
  • Class of 1985 Bursary
  • Class of 1987 Bursary
  • Class of 1992 Bursary
  • Class of 1993 Bursary
  • Ela Cheong Bursary
  • Allen & Gledhill Bursary
  • Chew Gek Khim Bursary
  • E.W. Barker Bursary
  • Helen Yeo Bursary
  • Faculty of Law Bursary
  • Tommy Koh Bursary
  • Tan Han Boon Bursary
  • Nesadevi Sandrasegara Bursary
  • Kwa Geok Choo Bursary
  • NUS Law Student Bursary
  • Tan Han Boon Bursary
  • John & Lydia Ewing-Chow Bursary
  • Helen Yeo Bursary

Click here to learn more about each programme.

There are some NUS-level donated scholarships, too. They are as follows:

  • Shook Lin & Bok Scholarship
  • Dentons Rodyk Scholarship
  • CJ Koh Scholarship

Each of these scholarships are valued at S$3,000. They are valid for 1 year. Students who have a grade average of B+ and have excellent academic credentials will be considered.

There are some faculty-level donated scholarships available. Some of them are:

  • KK Menon Scholarship
  • Ella Cheong Intellectual Property Scholarship
  • Allen & Gledhill Scholarship
  • Class of 1986 Scholarship
  • Ashurst ADTLaw Scholarship
  • HL Wee Scholarship
  • WongPartnership Scholarship
  • Wee Chong Jin Scholarship In Law
  • NUS Law Scholarship
  • Lo Hwei Yen Memorial Scholarship
  • Singapore Academy of Law Undergraduate Scholarship, offered only to incoming freshmen

To apply for a faculty-level scholarship, you must complete the relevant form and submit it along with supporting documents. If you wish to apply for multiple scholarships, you must provide separate cover letters for each.

Important Bursaries and Grants Administered by the Faculty of Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering at NUS administers a number of funds and bursaries. Assistance is offered to needy students at the school with good academic credentials. Most of these funds are available to full-time, undergraduate students at the Engineering department.

Some of the notable assistance schemes are:

  • Engineering Student Development Fund
  • Faculty of Engineering Bursary
  • Class of 1976 Engineering Bursary Fund
  • Faculty of Engineering General Purpose Fund
  • Class of 1988 Mechanical Engineering Bursary
  • Engineering Class of 1983 Scholarship
  • ME92 Scholarship (Endowed)
  • Engineering Class of 1982 Bursary Endowed Fund

Any bursary offered, will be valid for the academic year for which it was offered. However, you may reapply next year, if you choose to.

Bursaries Offered Under the Supervision of the School of Business

Deserving students pursuing BBA programmes, may be eligible for a number of bursaries and invitation-only awards. In general, you may not be able to simultaneously receive one of these bursaries with any other scholarship, free aid, or bursary offered by some other organisation, school, or office. However, for more clarity, you may check with the scholarship, award, or bursary committee to know if you can concurrently hold this bursary with others.

However, you may be able to receive complementary financial assistance packages such as residential housing support, student exchange package, etc. with these bursaries and awards.

You can apply for these bursaries through the centralised application portal for scholarships, managed by the Offices of Admissions-Financial Aid Office.

Some exclusive, invitation-only bursaries are available. You’ll have to satisfy the eligibility requirements to be shortlisted. However, shortlisted candidates would then be selected through an interview process. Such bursaries include:

  • NUSBSA Student Experience Fund (For Exchange Studies) (one-time award of S$2,625)
  • Leong Siew Meng Memorial Bursary (no fixed amount)
  • Tahir Student Exchange Award (For Exchange Studies) (one-time award of S$6,000)

Check this page for other grants and bursaries.

The following schools and faculties also offer bursaries and aids:

  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • School of Computing
  • NUS Overseas College Awards

NUSSU Students’ Fund Bursary Award and Book Grant

These grants and bursaries are administered by the NUS Students’ Union. You may be eligible for one of these awards if you’re a full-time undergraduate student facing financial hardships. You must have also received full or part financing from CES, TFL, or TTFS.

The value of each bursary award is S$1,000. The value of each book grant is S$200. Each award is tenable for 1 semester. You’ll have to reapply, to be considered, for the next semester.

Furthermore, you may not be able to concurrently hold this bursary/grant with other scholarships/aids/awards in the same academic year.

Special Bursaries for NUS Students Offered by External Organisations

If you’re a student of NUS, you may also receive financial assistance in the form of one of the following bursaries, offered by external organisations/donors:

Sivadas-HEB Tertiary Bursary: This award is available to needy, meritorious Hindu students pursuing academic programmes in the tertiary level of education.

Yellow Ribbon Fund STAR Bursary: This award, started in 2004, is a charitable programme that aims to reintegrate ex-offenders and their families with the mainstream. Apart from undertaking public awareness programmes, it also organises rehabilitation programmes for its beneficiaries. This organisation also offers financial assistance to ex-offenders who are pursuing education at NUS.

Chettiars’ Temple Society (CTS) Education Award: This award/bursary is available to Singapore citizens or PRs who are full-time students in government institutes. You may be eligible if your monthly family income doesn’t exceed S$2,000. You can’t apply for this award if you’re already receiving some other award or assistance. A maximum scholarship of S$1,000 is offered. A maximum bursary of S$800 and a Tamil language award not exceeding S$200 in value, are also offered by this organisation.

The Ngee Ann Kongsi Tertiary Bursary: This organisation offers scholarships and bursaries to eligible candidates. You’ll be eligible for this award only if your father is a Teochew. While scholarships are reserved for students with exceptional curricular and cocurricular records, bursaries will mainly be given to students facing financial hardships. A maximum scholarship of S$10,000 and a maximum bursary of S$5,000 are available to students from NUS. You can only use the bursary or scholarship to cover your university tuition fees. Each award will be tenable for one academic year only.

South West Tertiary Grant: This award/bursary offers holistic educational support to eligible candidates. With other partners, this organisation aims to take care of education, food, and transport expenses of needy tertiary students.

Muslimin Trust Fund Association (MTFA) Bursary Award: This organisation channels its resources to alleviate poverty of the needy. This scholarship is available to underprivileged Muslim students who’re pursuing education in any field at a seat of higher learning. The scholarship is mainly available to those with high intellectual capacity. The bursary is available to Singaporean/PR Muslim students from low-income families, wishing to pursue higher studies.

Special Malay Bursary: This award is offered by Yayasan MENDAKI to eligible Malay/Muslim students at NUS. Click here to learn more about these awards and bursaries.

SPD Education Programme Bursary Awards: This bursary is available to students from low-income families. However, a student will only be eligible if they have sensory or visual challenges or impairments. The maximum value of this award could be S$6,000 p.a. for university students. Read this page to learn more about the programme and the application process.

What Else Should You Know About These Bursaries and Scholarships?

If you comply with the terms of these awards and if you’re found to be eligible for any, disbursement of funds will be made. These funds will be credited to your account held with the Office of Financial Services. You’ll receive these bursaries and grants on a semester-basis and in half.

A credit will be made only after the tuition fee for your course has been charged. Any fee due to the university, will be deducted from the total fund before a credit.

Applications for most of these bursaries and financial aids will have to be submitted through the students’ portal administered by the Office of Financial Services. However, aids offered by external donors and government agencies, the application process could be different.

Other Forms of Assistance — Work-Study Assistance Scheme

The university also allows needy students to find part-time jobs. This opportunity is offered under the Work-Study Assistance Scheme. This scheme helps students find an additional source of income to supplement their finances.

You can apply if you’re a full-time undergraduate student at the university and a recipient of a financial aid package from NUS. Under the scheme, international students will be allowed to work for a maximum of 16 hours per week during term time. Your participation under the scheme will be valid for 1 year. You’ll have to make a fresh application post expiry to be considered again for this scheme.

NUS believes in equal opportunities for everyone. If you’re deserving of a placement at the university, you’ll get it irrespective of whether you have the financial means or not. With the help of an NUS bursary, scholarship, or grant, you could get the education that you yearn for. Just go out there, use your knowledge, and make a difference to the world!

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