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School Fees in Singapore: Top 11 Facts for Expats

Understanding school fees in Singapore is essential for expats to plan their finances effectively.

The country has been known for its top-notch educational system; hence, there are a large number of expatriate families attracted to Singapore schools due to their high standards. 

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The best time to invest, as a parent or teacher, is when you are moving countries.

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The Singapore’s Educational System

Singapore’s educational system stands tall globally, boasting well-rounded curricula that encompass not just academics but also a focus on character and values. 

It primarily consists of local schools managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and numerous international schools.

Understanding the structure of school fees in Singapore is vital for expats. This allows them to budget efficiently and ensure their children can access the best education possible. 

With a clear grasp of the costs involved, expats can avoid financial surprises and plan their stay in Singapore more confidently.

Difference Between Local and International Schools

Local Schools

Local schools in Singapore offer a strong academic curriculum. The medium of instruction is English, although students will also need to take a ‘Mother Tongue’ language. 

The local curriculum emphasizes a broad and balanced education, preparing students for a rapidly changing world.

Local schools are generally more affordable compared to international schools. 

School fees in Singapore for expats in local schools range from S$7,950 to S$28,900 per annum, depending on the level of education, i.e., primary or secondary. 

International Schools

International schools in Singapore offer various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, and others.

These schools offer a multicultural environment, and their curricula often have a global perspective.

International schools tend to have higher fees, reflecting their unique curricula and extensive facilities. 

School fees in Singapore for expats in international schools vary widely but can range from S$20,000 to over S$40,000 per annum. 

It’s important to note that fees at these schools often do not include additional costs like uniforms, meals, and extracurricular activities. Always remember to factor these in when calculating total school fees in Singapore.

school fees in singapore
Financial institutions in Singapore offer education savings plans that allow you to save systematically and build a fund for your child’s education over time.

Factors Influencing School Fees

To comprehend the landscape of school fees in Singapore, we first must understand the factors influencing these costs. 

Many variables contribute to the determination of fees, primarily the type of school (local vs. international), the school’s reputation, the curriculum, and the grade level. The amenities and facilities offered by the school also play a vital role.

  1. Type of School: Local schools in Singapore charge significantly lower fees compared to international schools. However, priority is given to Singapore citizens and permanent residents during admission, making it a competitive process for expats.
  2. Reputation and Curriculum: The school’s reputation and the curriculum they follow significantly influence school fees. Renowned international schools following popular curricula like IB or British GCSE/ A-Levels often charge higher fees.
  3. Grade Level: School fees in Singapore also escalate as students move up grade levels, particularly in international schools.
  4. Facilities and Amenities: Schools offering state-of-the-art facilities, additional student support, and extracurricular options will typically charge higher fees.

Average Range of School Fees for Expats

Annual school fees in Singapore for international schools range between SGD 20,000 and SGD 50,000. Local schools, on the other hand, charge expat students approximately SGD 1,000 per month. 

Financing Options for Expats’ School Fees in Singapore

Employer-Sponsored Education

One common way expats finance their children’s school fees in Singapore is through employer-sponsored education. 

Many companies consider education fees as part of the expat compensation package. If this applies to you, confirm the specifics with your company’s HR department

Scholarships and Grants

International schools in Singapore often offer scholarships and grants to outstanding students, which can significantly reduce school fees. Check with the specific school for availability and application processes.

Education Savings Plans

Financial institutions in Singapore offer education savings plans that allow you to save systematically and build a fund for your child’s education over time. These plans often come with insurance coverage, providing dual benefits.

Saving Strategies for School Fees in Singapore

Starting Early

A sound financial strategy always involves starting early. This principle applies to saving for school fees in Singapore as well. The earlier you start saving, the less financial pressure you will face when the fees are due.

Utilizing a Budgeting Plan

Budgeting is another crucial strategy. By setting a budget for different expense categories, you can manage your finances effectively and allocate sufficient funds for school fees.

Involving Your Child in Cost Saving

Lastly, involving your child in the saving process can also be beneficial. This practice not only reduces costs but also imparts valuable financial lessons to the child. They can contribute by choosing cost-effective extracurricular activities or understanding the importance of caring for textbooks and uniforms to avoid replacement costs.

The Hidden Costs: Beyond Just School Fees

When you’re budgeting for school fees in Singapore, you need to factor in more than just the tuition. There are many additional costs associated with schooling.

Extracurricular Activities and Their Costs

Many schools in Singapore offer a wealth of extracurricular activities, providing your child a holistic educational experience. 

These activities, however, often come with extra costs. You might need to budget for sports equipment, musical instruments, art supplies, or other special gear.

In addition, some clubs or teams may require a participation fee. Don’t overlook these expenses when calculating your total school fees in Singapore.

School Trips and Events

School trips, both local and international, play an integral part in the Singaporean education system. 

These experiential learning activities can sometimes have hefty price tags, particularly if international travel is involved. 

School events like annual day, sports day, or graduation ceremonies can also include additional costs for things like costumes, materials, or tickets.

Textbooks and Uniforms

While textbooks and uniforms might seem like minor expenses compared to tuition, they can add up. Most schools in Singapore require students to wear uniforms, and you’ll likely need to purchase several sets. 

Additionally, textbooks and other learning materials often need to be bought every year. Be sure to include these in your calculation of school fees in Singapore.

school fees in singapore
High living costs in Singapore often translate to higher school fees, particularly in international schools.

Impact of Singapore’s Cost of Living on School Fees

Singapore is known for its high quality of life, but it also has one of the highest costs of living in the world. This directly impacts school fees in Singapore.

Singapore ranks among the most expensive cities globally, impacting many aspects of daily life, from housing to groceries to transportation. These costs reflect the high standard of living and robust services the city-state provides.

High living costs in Singapore often translate to higher school fees, particularly in international schools. These schools aim to provide a quality of education on par with the city’s high living standards, leading to substantial tuition fees and additional costs.

Strategies to Manage Living Costs and School Fees

Budgeting becomes vital when dealing with the high cost of living and school fees in Singapore. 

Keep a close eye on your spending, and consider cost-saving measures like public transportation, cooking at home more often, or choosing a school with a fee structure that fits your budget. It’s all about striking a balance that works for your family.

Comparison of School Fees Across Popular Expat Locations in Singapore

School fees in Singapore can also vary based on the location of the school. Here are some popular expat areas and their typical school fees:

Central Business District (CBD)

The CBD is a popular area for expats due to its proximity to many international businesses. Schools in this area are often more expensive, reflecting the high cost of land and the demand for schools in this location.

Holland Village

Holland Village is another popular expat area known for its vibrant lifestyle. The school fees in this location can vary widely, with some schools being quite affordable while others are more expensive.

Tanglin and Orchard Road

Tanglin and Orchard Road are home to some of the city’s most prestigious international schools. As such, school fees in these locations tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum.

Remember, selecting a school involves more than just considering the school fees in Singapore. Look at the school’s curriculum, culture, and extracurricular offerings to ensure it’s the best fit for your child.

Navigating Student Loans and Scholarships in Singapore

Student loans in Singapore are provided mainly through banks and are available to both local and international students.

Interest rates and repayment terms can vary between banks and loan types. Be sure to thoroughly research and compare these details before making a decision.

Eligibility and Application for Student Loans

Generally, banks require a guarantor for the loan who is a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore.

Applications for student loans often involve filling out forms provided by the bank and submitting relevant documentation.

Scholarships Available for International Students

Various institutions and organizations offer scholarships that international students can avail of to offset school fees in Singapore.

These scholarships are typically merit-based and can cover partial or total school fees.

school fees in singapore
As an expat moving to Singapore, one of your top priorities should be exploring your housing options. You must carefully assess the location, proximity to schools, and your budget to find the right fit. 

Transitioning to Singapore: Considerations Beyond School Fees

Accommodation in Singapore

As an expat moving to Singapore, one of your top priorities should be exploring your housing options. You must carefully assess the location, proximity to schools, and your budget to find the right fit. 

Remember that rental costs can vary widely depending on the type of accommodation and its location, so allocate your budget wisely to cater to these costs in conjunction with school fees in Singapore.

The decision to rent or buy property will also significantly impact your budget. While buying may seem attractive, be aware that property prices in Singapore can be high, especially in popular expat areas.

On the other hand, renting provides more flexibility, which can be beneficial as you adjust to a new environment.

Transportation Costs

Luckily, Singapore boasts an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trains (MRT), and taxis, which are reasonably priced. 

Depending on where you live and the location of your child’s school, these might be viable options for daily commuting, allowing you to keep your budget for school fees in Singapore intact.

If you’re considering owning a car in Singapore, note that it can be an expensive affair due to high taxes, registration fees, and insurance costs. 

Before you make such a commitment, evaluate your transportation needs and calculate the potential impact on your overall cost of living and your budget for school fees in Singapore.

Role of Insurance in Covering Education Costs

Education Insurance Plans

To help manage the cost of education, several insurance companies in Singapore offer education insurance plans. These plans can be an effective tool to build a fund for your child’s future school fees in Singapore.

However, like any financial product, education insurance plans come with certain risks and commitments. Be sure to study the terms and conditions carefully and seek advice if necessary to ensure you’re making the best decision for your child’s education funding.

Health Insurance for Students

Ensuring your child’s health while studying abroad is crucial. Some schools might provide basic health insurance coverage, but it’s worth considering additional health insurance plans to cover any unforeseen medical expenses.

Investing in comprehensive health insurance for your child can provide peace of mind. Not only will you be prepared for any health-related costs, but you also won’t be caught off guard by unexpected medical bills on top of the school fees in Singapore. 

This proactive step can make the transition to studying in Singapore smoother and less stressful for both you and your child.


Understanding the different types of schools and their respective fees is the first step in managing school fees in Singapore.

As an expat, it’s essential to plan for hidden costs, understand the tax implications, and explore financing options such as scholarships and student loans.

Planning and research play a critical role in managing school fees in Singapore. It’s essential to consider multiple factors, including location, type of school, and additional costs.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice when needed. Whether it’s for understanding the tax implications or applying for student loans, professional advice can provide valuable insights and ease the process.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.



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