Sunday 30 November 2014

Higher school fees for those entering polys, ITE next year

By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 29 Nov 2014

STUDENTS entering the five polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) next year will have to pay more school fees than their seniors, with tuition fees at these places raised by 2 per cent to 5 per cent.

Locals enrolling in the five polytechnics next year will pay $2,500 in tuition fees per year, up from the current $2,400.

Fees for non-citizens have also been raised proportionately. Permanent residents will have to pay $5,000, or $200 more than the current fees, while foreigners will pay $8,350, or $350 more.

The revised fees at the polys are about 4 per cent more than what current first-year students are paying.

Over at the ITE, students entering the institution next year will have to pay about $17 and $13 more for the Nitec and Higher Nitec courses respectively.

Foreigners and permanent residents will pay between $107 and $350 more than their seniors for these two courses.

But all students hoping to enrol in the ITE's technical diploma course next year will have to pay $106 more annually.

The changes will affect only the incoming students.

The institutions adopted a cohort-based fee structure last year, ensuring that a student's school fees will stay the same throughout the course of study. The new fees were posted on the polys' and the ITE's websites on Wednesday.

School fees at these places are typically revised in February or March each year, as the new academic year starts in April.

But from this year, the ITE's Nitec courses have been pushed forward to start in January.

This is why the Education Ministry adjusted tuition fees for polys and the ITE this month instead, said a ministry spokesman.

A spokesman said on behalf of the five polys and the ITE that school fees are reviewed yearly and "adjusted if necessary to meet the rising cost of quality education". "Where possible, it is preferable to have regular but small fee increases than a significant hike in any one year," he said.

But he stressed that financial help is available, with the Government enhancing the bursaries at the institutes of higher learning to cover two-thirds of Singaporean households. For instance, bursaries have been extended to families with a per capita monthly household income of $1,900, up from $1,700.

Student Tan Jia Yu, 16, who hopes to enter a science course in the ITE next year, said he intends to apply for financial aid.

"If they raise the school fees but give students more financial support, then it is not that bad," he said.

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