University Tuition Fees Increase By 300%?

(This post by Mr Leong Sze Hian first appeared on his blog on 21 March 2014. It is reproduced with permission.

I refer to the article “How much more the 2014-15 university intake will pay” (Today, Mar 21).

University fees up as much as 7.9%?

It states that “(university) Fee increases will range between 2.6 per cent and 7.9 per cent.”

Spending per university student?

According to the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Education Digest 2013 – Government recurrent expenditure on education per university student in 2012/2013 was $20,978.

According to the Department of Statistics’ (DOS) Singapore 2005 Statistical Highlights – the above was $13,420 in 1985.

Spending declined by 7% in the last 27 years?

So, it has increased by about 56% or about 1.7% per annum, in the last 27 years or so. However, inflation increased by about 63% from 1985 (CPI 69.3) to 2012 (CPI 113.1).

Does this mean that in real terms, it declined by about 7% over the last 27 years or so?

Tuition fees increased by 300%?

In contrast, I understand that tuition fees have increased by more than 300%, or more than 5% per annum, during the same period.

In this connection, GDP growth was about 457% from 1985 ($54.8 billion) to 2012 ($305.2 billion), or about 6.6% per annum.

Spending was 464% less than GDP growth?

Does this mean that relative to GDP growth, real education spending per university student was about 464% less than GDP growth?

In other words, GDP growth was 6.6% per annum and real education spending growth was about minus 0.25%, against tuition fee growth of about 5 plus % per annum.

In this connection, I understand that most countries historically, would spend more on education growth, relative to GDP growth.

Are there any countries in the world that has such a dismal record of education spending relative to GDP growth?



Leong Sze Hian is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow and an author of 4 books. He is frequently quoted in the media. He has also been invited to speak more than 100 times in 25 countries on 5 continents. He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica, Chairman of the Institute of Administrative Management, and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional qualifications. He blogs at