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    Oct 01, 2015

    MOE increases school fees for foreigners, PRs

    STARTING next year, fees for international students attending local secondary schools will rise to $800 a month.

    It is a far cry from 2009, when students from outside the region paid just $226 a month - and that included miscellaneous fees. It is a steep jump even from the $650 a month that they currently pay.

    Meanwhile, younger international students who attend local primary schools will have to pay $550 a month - up from the $500 a month that they pay now. In 2009, such students were charged just $156 a month, including miscellaneous fees.

    This latest revision of school fees is a move to further differentiate fees by citizenship, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday in a statement.

    International students and permanent residents (PRs) will be paying more to attend local schools from January, as well as junior colleges and centralised institutes.

    Fees for Singapore citizens remain unchanged. Primary school education is free for Singaporeans, while those in secondary schools and at the pre-university level pay $5 and $6 respectively.

    Till a few years back, PRs paid only marginally more than Singapore citizens to attend local schools.

    The gap has steadily widened and PRs attending secondary schools will have to pay $160 a month from next year, compared with $120 now.

    Those attending local primary schools, who now pay $90 a month, will have to pay $110 a month from next year.

    MOE also said that miscellaneous fees, which are used to defray the cost of teaching resources and materials used by students, will not change.

    These fees, which apply to all students, including Singaporeans, are $6.50 at primary school, $10 for secondary school and $13.50 at the pre-university level.

    Fee hikes for non-Singaporeans go back to 2009 when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the Government would sharpen the distinction between citizens and non-citizens, in a move to enhance the privileges of being a citizen.

    Higher school fees were first implemented in January 2011, and later again in 2013.

    About 9 per cent of students in national schools now are PRs, and 5 per cent are international students.

    Their fees remain competitive even after the increase.

    Yearly fees at the international schools here, such as Stamford American International School range from $25,000 to $40,000.

    Zhang Yun Ying, 39, who has lived in Singapore for more than 10 years, now pays $500 each month for her Primary 2 son to go to Farrer Park Primary School.

    "Five hundred dollars is already quite a lot, and I really hope the fees will not go up again in the future," said the housewife from China.

    "I hope to apply for PR status for my family next year," she added.