What Is A Tuition Fee Loan And How Does It Work In Singapore?

Personal Finance

What Is A Tuition Fee Loan And How Does It Work In Singapore?

March 10, 2023

Education is a powerful change agent that can drive your economic growth and improve your overall well-being. However, it is costly in Singapore and can take a toll on your finances as a student, and that’s why affordable tuition fee loans can help you. If you’re struggling to access flexible education loans, you might ask, ‘what is tuition fee loan?’

Fortunately, we can answer your question to help you to access a tuition fee loan designed with your needs in mind. This article explains the meaning of a tuition fee loan, what differentiates it from other valuable funding options like study loans, and how it works in Singapore.

What Is A Tuition Fee Loan?

A tuition fee loan is a Singapore government education credit facility that helps students in polytechnics and autonomous universities in the country pay for a significant percentage of their tuition fees. As the name suggests, it doesn’t care for miscellaneous education costs.

How much can you get? The course of study and the school you are attending determines the amount of tuition fee loan you can take out at any given time.

Remember that this loan is desirable because the government offers it at a much lower rate than many other education loans in the market.

Besides outstanding affordability, the tuition fee loan repayment period is much more extended than the others.

The Singapore government’s objective is to use this loan to support students studying in public schools. So, if you are in a private school, you better consider taking out a study loan instead of this one.

Tuition Fee Vs Study Loan

You already know that a tuition fee loan is designed for students in public learning institutions, but there’s much more than this.

Firstly, tuition fees and study loans are initiatives of the Singapore government. Secondly, they are designed with the needs of all Singapore students in mind.

However, the study loan is available for students who have benefitted from the tuition fee loan but still need help with financial difficulties. One way to determine that you qualify for the study loan is your gross monthly per capita income. You qualify if it’s $2,700 or less.

Moreover, while the tuition fees only help students pay tuition fees, the study loan can help meet your day-to-day living expenses.

If that’s not enough, the tuition fee loan is available for Singapore citizens studying there, whereas the study loan can finance students studying abroad.

A good example is the NTU study loan, which can finance your education abroad if you have a monthly household income per person of $1,200. Note that repayment for the NTU tuition loan fee begins six months after you start working or six months upon graduation, whichever comes earlier.

How Does It Work?

Now that we’ve answered, ‘what is tuition fee loan?’ and what sets the loan apart from the study loan, let’s discover how it works. This way, you’ll be able to understand better how it can help you to realise your academic goals.

The government loan is tenable for the entire learning period and is highly affordable. For the duration of the study, it is interest-free. However, the payment of interest commences upon graduation.

For loans taken up by polytechnic students, the maximum loan tenure is ten years. However, the period can be as long as 20 years for loans taken out by university students.

Let’s take a deeper look at what the tuition fee loan covers. According to the Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore, it can cover up to

  • 75% of subsidised fees for Singaporeans at the polytechnic level.
  • 90% of subsidised prices for Singapore citizens at the university level.

If you are an eligible Singaporean, you can apply and then use other sources of finance to cover the rest.

Tuition Fee Loans In Singapore

There are several tuition fee loans that you can consider. Let’s consider some major ones and evaluate the eligibility criteria and requirements to help you determine which of them better suits you.

Ministry of Education (MOE) Tuition Fee Loan

The MOE tuition fee loan offers a competitive rate of 4.75% per annum and covers up to 90% of your tuition fee. It also charges no admission fees. Better still, it applies to both full and part-time university students.

However, you can’t use this loan to study overseas.

Eligibility And Requirements

You can apply for a MOE tuition fee loan if you are:

  • Enrolled in a local institution like the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnic, and university.
  • Enrolled full-time in subsidised degree programs
  • Singaporean or PR enrolled part-time in subsidised undergraduate programs.

It would help if you had a guarantor as well.

To access this loan, you can do one of the following:

  • Approach Singapore Management University (SMU) if you are a student in this institution.
  • If you are enrolled at the National University of Singapore (NUS) or Nanyang Technological University (NTU), contact DBS or OCBC.
  • If you aren’t a student in one of these institutions, you should approach DBS.

SMU Tuition Fee Loan

SMU tuition fee loan is another great option that you can take out depending on your financial needs. Upon repayment, the lender receives the tuition fee loan interest rate and principal.

This loan can subsidise up to 90% of your tuition fee.

Eligibility And Requirements

To be eligible for an SMU tuition fee loan, you should:

  • Be an undergraduate enrolled full-time
  • Be an undergraduate who can’t pay the full fees
  • Must be able to repay a minimum of $100 per month within the loan tenure
  • Have a qualified guarantor

The guarantor must be between 21 and 60 years old and be a Singapore citizen if the applicant is also a citizen. For a permanent resident, the guarantor can be a Singaporean or PR.

DBS Tuition Fee Loan

The requirements and eligibility depend on the education level. Find what you should consider whether you are enrolled in a university or polytechnic below.


DBS tuition fee loan is designed for Singapore students. It can pay up to 90% of your subsidised tuition expenses. Besides, you are guaranteed a free DBS tuition fee loan interest rate throughout your education. After graduation, you pay an affordable interest, charged at UOB, OCBC, and DBS’ average prime rate.

Eligibility And Requirements

You are eligible if you are enrolled in a local university or NIE and don’t fall under one of the following categories:

  • You get a government or school scholarship that takes care of your tuition fees
  • Are enrolled in a self-financed course
  • Non-Singaporean or PR that pays full tuition
  • Are a MENDAKI student receiving a full tuition fee subsidy
  • You use your CPF to pay for your discounted tuition expenses


As a polytechnic student, you can get up to 75% of your subsidised tuition fees. The tuition fee loan repayment model is the same as above. However, the eligibility criteria are slightly different.

Eligibility And Requirements

You should be a full-time sponsored diploma student at a local polytechnic. There are no age or minimum income limits. However, you shouldn’t fall under one of the following categories:

  • Be a beneficiary of a government, statutory board, or scholarship that covers your tuition expenses.
  • Use CPF funds
  • Are MENDAKI student who receives full fee support

How To Apply For A Tuition Fee Loan

If you want to apply for the government’s tuition fee loan, you can do the following:

1. Enrol in an autonomous university or polytechnic in Singapore

2. Go to your school’s website and download the Tuition Fee Loan Application Form.

3. Prepare all the needed documents, including a completed copy of the Tuition Fee Loan Application Form, Blank Letter of Offer, NIRC or Passport for yourself and the guarantor, and Provisional Offer or Final Letter of admission.

4. With your guarantor, take the documents to DBS or OCBC for processing.

5. Wait for the bank to process your application for about two weeks.

If you are successful, you’ll receive a notification by email from your college or university informing you of the fee balance payable after factoring in the approved loan request.

Use Your Tuition Fee Loan To Finance Your Education

Now that we’ve fully answered your quiz, ‘what is tuition fee loan, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to pursue your dream.

Remember that whether you are planning to join a university or polytechnic in Singapore or abroad, tuition fee loans can help you finance the high cost of education.

Here at Credit Thirty3, we offer affordable tuition fee loans that you can consider.

Feel for to contact us for more information or apply for a loan now, and one of our friendly financial advisors will get back to you within a short time.