How to Study in Singapore for Free (9 Steps)

A country’s geographical size does not equate to its economic standing and one proof of this is Singapore! The country has been big and even getting better in economics and industrial outputs despite its area. It rivals bigger countries in terms of economic power and wealth. This is why many people, especially students, eye Singapore as the starting point of their career – getting an education.

However, economically powerful countries tend to have expensive studying and living costs. For this, students lose their will on trying to get to Singapore to pursue their dreams. But the truth is, there are many ways to study for free in Singapore. Here are some tips and advice if you want to get that degree for free!

Study in Singapore for Free

1. Great academic background means better chances in application

Raise your chances of being accepted in the applications you will be sending by ensuring a good academic and personality background. Having good grades, high test scores, and acceptable personalities are the qualities that universities in Singapore look for and invest in. They look at your application based on your current standing and previous achievements and if you are one of top applicants, you will be admitted.

So, before applying to Singapore for free education, make sure that you earned enough achievements and that you have a great academic record in your previous studies and your country. This can include good GPA, test scores, and letters of recommendation.

2. Early Applicants tend to do better

Early application means so much to many universities because it saves up their time especially when they set deadlines. Applying early says a lot about the student’s personality. It means the student is responsible, flexible, and organized. It gets the attention of the universities because they want students that they can rely on tasks and not tardy on due dates.

Also, once you apply early, you might have a better chance of getting admitted because your portfolio or information sheet will be read first. If your profile is great, there is a possibility that some universities will admit you early. So, prepare your application early and submit it early!

3. Seek for Scholarships Offered by Universities in Singapore

Trying to lessen your academic expenses can be easily done by looking and applying for scholarships offered by universities. In Singapore, many universities offer assistance to students. These students are accepted to help the university in its research or development in exchange for studying free in Singapore. For example, take a look at National University of Singapore for scholarship information.

Other than research, sports and art scholarships are available in some universities in Singapore. Students in these types of scholarship train and compete in tournaments to bring honor and achievements for their school in exchange for free tuition and, if fortunate enough, free housing. Getting scholarships from Singapore universities, such as the National University of Singapore, is one of the most recommended ways of studying in Singapore for free.

4. Seek for Government Scholarships offered in Singapore and in your home country

Some countries provide scholarships for their students who want to study in Singapore or any country abroad. Usually, these countries have connections with universities and have contracts on accepting students in exchange for resources or information. These things are done to maintain and further improve the good relationship of both countries that’s why there are government scholarships that are available in your country.

To apply for these scholarships, find out what universities in Singapore have a connection with your country and apply for those universities indicating your nationality. Or, contact your government agency handling external affairs and inquire about the international scholarships that are offered in Singapore universities.

You need to also find scholarships that are offered by the Singaporean government as well. For example, SINGA Scholarships are offered by the Singaporean government for international students wishing to study PhD. I would definitely look at government scholarships in Singapore as well as scholarships offered in your own country to make your dream of studying for free in Singapore come true.

5. Seek for Private Scholarships

This type of scholarship can be availed from private organizations and companies supporting students who are following the career path that will benefit them. Firms for example support engineering and architecture students hoping that they will be an asset to the company after they finish their studies.

These scholarships are usually offered in your countries if you wanted to be supported in your international studies. Most private organizations in Singapore only accept residents because they are more likely to stay in the country than international students.

6. Compare tuition and attend affordable universities in Singapore

Not all scholarships pay for your tuition fully. Some pay for only a part of your expenses and leave the rest to you. In these cases, you must find universities that are very affordable so that when you got a scholarship that partially pays your fees, you can still manage to pay for the remaining dues using other resources.

On average, the annual tuition fee in Singapore ranges from 5,300 USD to 6,500 USD. Universities in rural communities are much cheaper than those located in cities. So, if you are limited on your funds and save up money as much as you can, try applying to remotely far universities because they also offer high-end education.

Attending affordable universities can be a first step for you to study in Singapore for free. Check the Affordable Universities in Singapore and apply to some of the universities on the list.

7. Apply to many universities in Singapore

Once you got all your requirements for studying in Singapore, immediately send your applications to all your prospective universities. More applications will get you a handful of acceptance form from universities instead of just applying to one. From those universities, enroll in the university that has the degree you want to take, then, check if it is a university that you can afford.

Prestigious universities that are famous for accepting international students are the Singapore Institute of Management and the National University of Singapore which are both top-ranking universities in the world.

If you feel lost in applying to universities in Singapore, I highly recommend you to check out How to Study in Singapore for International Students. This guide contains complete information on application procedure, including the required materials, which we can’t cover here.

8. Find a part-time job while studying

As said, only a few scholarships in Singapore fully pay for your tuition fees. The remaining fees will be up to you to pay them. This is why getting part-time jobs will be very important and beneficial for you to help you cover those expenses.

The Government of Singapore allows foreign students a maximum of 16 hours of work per week. This will only apply to you if you have a Student Pass in Singapore. You are not allowed to do part-time works if you are no longer studying or your student pass has expired. With that 16 hours of paid work, it will be more than enough to pay for the remaining school fees. Working can be a good way for you to be able to study in Singapore for free. So, you should consider this method also.

9. Live thriftily

You already got accepted into a affordable university, you got yourself some scholarships, and you are ready to settle in Singapore. Yet, bills still piled up. There is no need to panic because living expenses are normal but you can control them. Lower your monthly expenses by living thriftily. Choose the cheapest apartment or dormitory, get a roommate if you can, avoid eating out but cook your food instead, momentarily sacrifice unnecessary things, and only buy your daily necessities. All sacrifices will be rewarded after getting that degree so get yourself together and prepare for the good things to come.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Scholarships Page.