Is it Expensive to Study in Singapore?

Singapore is one of the most popular study destinations in the world. It is well known for its top-notch education system and for being an affordable place to live and study. In this article, we look at the cost implications of studying in Singapore. 

It is not expensive to study in Singapore, especially when appropriate financial plans are made before the study. Singapore is one of the most sought-after countries for international students who are looking to further their education. You can study in Singapore at a decent cost without having to take exorbitant student loans. 

Studying in Singapore can be one of the many means to get a reputable degree without spending a fortune. Most international students shy away from making plans because they already think that studying in a country such as Singapore is a feat for wealthy families or families who have saved up a fortune to send their child or ward to school abroad.

There are usually scholarships offered by the Singaporean government for international students which is not common in most countries. Most countries tend to prioritize their citizens over non-citizens or international students. While researching, I found that there are several government scholarships available for international students. You should check them out and take advantage of the opportunity. 

There are also low-cost schools in Singapore that you can apply to so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on tuition. This can considerably reduce your study costs in Singapore. You can also study in Singapore with an informed budget. 

There are public and private universities and polytechnics that offer diploma programs where students get practical knowledge in various fields. They are mostly three-year programs so you have several options to choose from.

Now, let’s take a look at the study costs in Singapore and other costs that you may not know about. We will also take a look at the cost of studying in other countries and how they compare to the cost of studying in Singapore. Keep reading to find out more.

Tuition fees

After you have gotten an offer or admission into a school in Singapore, most schools require that you pay the tuition upfront before your admission is finalized. You may be required to pay the full amount or part of the fee for the first year or first semester. Either way here is some useful information about average tuition fees in the United States.  

It usually costs an average of $7,000 per year to study in a Singaporean school. In schools such as Nanyang Technological Schools (NTU), tuition fees for postgraduate programs cost as low as $5,180 per year. They can also be up to $10,000 depending on different factors. 

If you are looking to pursue STEM programs, tuition fees will be much higher than tuition fees for other programs. There are 6 public universities and they all offer the best quality education in Singapore. You can consider applying to public universities for lower tuition costs since these are funded by the state. If you also go for programs outside of science and technology, you can get low tuition costs since these types of programs may not cost so much. 

You can also decide to pay your tuition in installments to make for a much easier payment plan as allowed by the school. If you can pay per semester, you should have enough time to look for the next installment payment as semesters usually last for about six months.

As mentioned, some schools in Singapore are subsidized by the government regardless of your nationality. If you are from Europe or Africa or any other country, you can enjoy this benefit in a Singaporean school. 

Like most countries, state-funded public universities are a lot cheaper than private universities that are owned privately. You can find state or public schools in Singapore with subsidized tuition fees since they are owned and funded by the state. You don’t necessarily have to pay more than Singaporean students as an international student like most countries.  

Now let’s take a look at the living costs needed while schooling and living in Singapore.

Living Costs

To study in another country such as Singapore, you have to make plans for your new life there. Apart from your tuition fee, you will need to make plans for your living expenses such as your accommodation, feeding, transportation, and others.

With $800-$1000, you can cover your living costs in Singapore. This includes transportation and personal expenses. This value is in US dollars so it has more value when changed to Singapore dollars. 

The standard of living in Singapore can be high compared to other Asian countries. However, you can cut costs on your expenses if you manage your money well by making proper and realistic plans. Accommodation is often the highest expense that you have to take care of as an international student in a new country especially if you don’t have friends or relatives that you can stay with. You may want to start cutting expenses down from your rent so it can positively affect the rest of your living costs. 

Living in cheap places like Bukit Panjang in Singapore where rent is around $300 is a good step to take to cut accommodation costs. 

You can decide to go for on-campus lodging known as Hall of Residence in Singapore schools where you get to share with two or more other students. Residents share bathrooms, bathrooms, and

showers. This can be another affordable option for you when it comes to finding low-cost accommodation. 

It is not expensive to get food in Singapore as you can budget an average cost of about $200 per month for your feeding. This is an estimate for students who don’t eat out as opposed to those who eat out frequently. You can also decent meal for as low as $10 if you decide to eat out sometimes. However, cooking at home can help you save much more than eating out so you can get groceries and make food at home. 

Taking public transport is one of the most economic ways to commute in Singapore as an international student. You can budget around $120-$150 per month for buses and MRTs The popular Mass Rapid Transit is known in Singapore as a good means to transit and it costs just $1.18 (S$1.60). You can also cut transportation costs by getting accommodation in school dormitories or on-campus lodging. This way, you won’t have to take buses or MRTs since you only have to walk a few minutes to the school. However, you will need transportation to go to other places that are not close to the school. 

You can also get yourself a bicycle which is usually around $200. This may seem expensive but it is usually worth it in the long run. It will help you move from place to place without having to pay for transportation.

Other Expenses

Apart from living expenses, there are other expenses that you’d need to cover. These include miscellaneous and emergencies such as health issues. It is important to get your health covered through health insurance. 

Schools such as the National University of Singapore make it mandatory for students in the school to subscribe to the school’s medical insurance scheme. You want to ensure that you have yourself covered in case of medical emergencies. This is an equally important cost in your study in Singapore. When you have your health insurance covered, you will be able to take care of your health regardless of how unexpected health issues arise. 

Wifi is also another expense that you have to prepare for. Not all accommodations have wifi covered in the rent so you may have to pay additional fees for wifi to be able to use the internet. You can budget $20-$50 per month for the internet. 

You are allowed to work on-campus for about 16 hours a week in Singapore when the school is in session. According to the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, international students on a Student Pass in Singapore are eligible to work part-time for about 16 hours a week during term and unlimited hours during vacation. This can help you cover some of your expenses as you can earn up to $15 per hour which is about $240 per week.

You may be required to buy certain textbooks that are important to your study so you may want to budget for this also. You can also budget for expenses that may arise as a result of growing interest or due to necessity such as membership fees, social events, and others.

Comparison to Other Countries

Now that you already have enough knowledge about the costs of studying in Singapore, we can take a look at the comparison between the cost of studying in Singapore and other popular countries.

United Kingdom

The lowest tuition you can find in the U.K schools starts from about $10,000-$12,000. There are lots of prestigious universities in the United Kingdom which partly explains why the tuition is on the high side unlike in Singapore where you can get schools as low as $6,000.

Studying in the United Kingdom can be more competitive than studying in Singapore because a lot more international students move to study in the United Kingdom as a result of its business-oriented environment. 

You can work for up to 20 hours as an international student in the United Kingdom while you can only work 16 hours as an international student in Singapore. 

United States

The educational system of the United States can be flexible unlike in Singapore where the educational system and curriculum can be strict. 

The United States usually requires students to go back to their home countries immediately after their studies while you can look for a job for 12 months in Singapore by obtaining a visit pass for that period after which you can apply for an Employment Pass.

You can work for up to 20 hours as an international student in the United States while you can only work 16 hours as an international student in Singapore. 


Unlike Singapore, you can study in Germany at no cost as most schools are tuition-free. However, you will be required to take care of your living expenses which are essential to your study in Germany. You have to cover your tuition fee in Singaporean schools which is different from your living expenses. 

Like most countries in Europe, Germany encourage international students to stay back in the country after their programs by applying for an extended 18-month Job Seeking Visa otherwise called the post-study work visa to find work relating to their studies

You can work for up to 20 hours as an international student in Germany while you can only work 16 hours as an international student in Singapore. 


Most schools in Norway are tuition-free and like most European countries so all you need to worry about is the living costs. To study in Norway as an international student, however, you need to take care of your study expenses in Norway which can be as high as $1500. 

Schools are not free in Singapore, unlike Norway where you don’t have to pay tuition in some schools. In Singapore, you have to pay for your tuition which is separate from your living expenses. 

In Norway, even though the living expenses are the only expenses that you have to worry about, it is almost as high as paying for tuition. You can cut costs on living expenses when you plan and prioritize your expenses in Singapore. 


Singapore can be affordable to study in. You only need to budget your money carefully and make sure you are aware of all the costs associated with your study. You can also make things easy by checking out tuition-free and low-cost schools that will save you money. Make good use of the information in this article and start planning for your study and life in Singapore.