Singapore is a small yet highly developed Southeast Asian country renowned for its vast economic success and standing as one of the most systematic countries in the world.
A tourist and expat favorite, underneath this ever-growing financial hub is a history that sparks inspiration to its neighboring countries as a highly regarded nation that once struggled to make ends meet. Much of Singapore’s present success owes to the emphasis it places on education, which has helped allow the country to attain its status today as the third richest country in the world.
Singaporean education boasts a unique merit-based system that has helped produce many stellar, high-profile individuals taking the lead on the world stage and continues to actively encourage prospective nation builders from all over the world with open arms.
Likewise, Singapore is all but brimming with academic opportunities open for both Singaporeans and foreigners alike. In this article, we will be listing some of the Singapore scholarships we found best over the dozens of programs offered for the chance to study in this country.
Living Costs in Singapore for International students
Living in Singapore, suffice to say, is very expensive. Being one of the richest countries and most desirable places to live in the world comes with a high population density, driving up land prices and consequently rental prices amongst other things. A family of four living in Singapore is expected to spend at least S$4,400 (US$3,238) monthly and this is without taking rent into account.
The NUS estimates that the annual cost for an international student living in Singapore can go up to S$6,000 (US$ 4,415) for an entire academic year excluding accommodation; however, as we all know, costs may still vary greatly depending on one’s lifestyle and standard of living.
For the average international student, accommodation costs can roughly go from about S$200 to S$800 (US$148 to US$589), S$40 to S$100 (US$30 to US$74) for utilities, S$100 to S$250 (US$74 to US$184) for transport & telecommunications, and S$300 to S$450 (US$221 to US$332) for food.
Can international students work in Singapore?
International students can work in Singapore under certain conditions. Foreign students can work so long as they are a) studying in a listed institution approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and b) not an exchange student doing study modules in Singapore.
Further conditions are placed on those who wish to work during the school term:
- Jobs must be through a program conducted by their matriculated university and contribute towards graduation requirements
- Students are to only work a maximum of 16 hours per week.
Top Universities in Singapore:
With education and merit playing a significant role in shaping Singaporean society, it is no surprise that Singapore is home to many of the best universities in the world and goes head-to-head with fellow prominent and top-performing countries in the educational sector such as Australia, Canada, and the East Asian states.
Among these universities is the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which are both consistently within the top 100 universities in the world across different university ranking systems.
These schools are considered some of the most prestigious universities in Asia along with others such as the Tsinghua University of China, KAIST of Korea, and Tokyo University.
Another challenger would be the Singapore Management University (SMU), which is known for its business and social science programs and ranks 11th against other similarly specialized universities in the 2021 QS World University Rankings.
Best Scholarships in Singapore
1. Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA)
A collaboration between the Singaporean government’s leading research & development agency and four of the country’s top universities, the SINGA scholarship was established. This Singapore scholarship seeks to further promote scientific and industrial progress by supporting outstanding international students in their academic pursuits and bringing together these great minds from all over the world with the hopes of fostering groundbreaking discoveries drawn from a combination of their diverse lived experiences before stepping afoot the Lion City.
This scholarship is open to all international graduates and includes tuition fees, a monthly stipend of S$2000 (US$1470) – S$2500 (US$1837), as well as one-time airfare grants and settling allowances of up to S$1,500 (US$1103) and S$1000 (US$735) respectively.
2. Asian Development Bank – Japan Scholarship Program (ADB – JSP)
The ADB – JSP Scholarship is an initiative set by the Asian Development Bank that ties in with the Japanese Government to pave the way for and open up opportunities for top-notch international students from its developing country members. This scholarship in Singapore is one of the most accessible programs for graduate students from developing Asia-Pacific countries that wish to further their studies and contribute to their home countries’ overall development.
This scholarship covers a maximum of two academic years’ worth of tuition fees, monthly allowances that include expected housing fees, instructional materials, medical insurances, and travel expenses. This program may also include special grants for scholars engaged in research or fund preparatory courses (such as language) under special circumstances.
3. Lee Kong Chian Scholars’ Programme (LKCSP)
The SMU possesses a copious amount of scholarships made possible by its wide range of donors and external partnerships. Among these donors is the Lee Foundation. Their program, the LKCSP, is one of SMU’s most prestigious scholarships.
Awarding up to 60 scholars annually, this Singapore scholarship for international students sets itself apart by having some of the most generous benefits that comprise of not only tuition fee waivers or living allowances but also a one-time S$1,800 computer allowance and a S$16,000 “Global Opportunities Grant” that may be used to fund overseas student exchange programs, study trips, community service projects, or case competition and presentations in international conferences.
4. Nanyang Scholarship – CN Yang Scholars Programme (CNYSP)
The CNYSP is another awesome scholarship in Singapore awarded every year to exceptional science and engineering freshmen who apply to NTU. This program aims to enable future leaders in S&T to further hone their talents, “embrace” the spirits of innovation and hard work, as well as open doors of opportunity to create a meaningful impact on the different careers these scholars wish to undertake.
Besides already including the already open-handed incentives offered in the regular Nanyang Scholarship (i.e. tuition, living allowances, travel grants, accommodation, and a computer allowance), CN Yang scholars are offered opportunities to attend international conferences with the subsidy in addition to guaranteed four years hall stays in student-housing, a one-semester overseas exchange, and funding for their final year’s research projects.
5. National University of Singapore S&T Scholarship (NUS-S&T)
Where better to score a scholarship than the world’s next top university? Though notorious for being one of the hardest scholarships in Singapore, the S&T scholarship has some of the best deals for ASEAN international students by far.
Aside from being a university-sponsored scholarship from one of Asia’s most prestigious schools, there are many reasons why the NUS-S&T appeals to many. Along with the expected tuition fee grant, this scholarship package also comprises a S$6,000 (US$4,427) annual living allowance, an accommodation allowance, a settling-in allowance, and an airfare subsidy for its scholars.