A guide to education loans for students in Singapore

Taking out an education loan is something common among many university students. Read on to find out more about study loans in Singapore and their features.
PHOTO: Unsplash

August comes in a few months’ time, and it is the time of the year where almost 18,000 freshmen will matriculate and enrol into a university in Singapore.

Many factors are at play when students make decisions about this important step of their tertiary education, one of which would be the financing of their university education. University tuition fees and other expenses do not come cheap, especially if you are planning to study in a university abroad.

You may be looking out for ways to better finance this next step in your life and make your educational and career dreams become a reality.

Read on to find out more about study loans which you could take up from a variety of banks so that you can hop onto your next few years of college life with less financial burdens and pressure.

Taking out a study loan from a bank

Taking out an education loan is more common than you think. For many students, an education loan is a form of monetary assistance to students, helping them to make their dreams take flight. Going to school, especially attending tertiary education can be very expensive, with various expenses including school fees, hostel charges, daily expenses, transportation and more.

In fact, for many students, a tuition fee loan is not the only loan which you may consider when taking out a loan for school. There is also a wide array of bank loans available for everyone and anyone, students included.

A student loan works about the same way as a personal loan – where one borrows a sum of money, typically from a bank in Singapore, and it will have to be repaid with interest, usually in monthly instalments over the course of a few months or years.

In Singapore, there are many banks which offer study loans to students, including the top banks such as DBS, OCBC and UOB. There are many different features of education loans. Knowing what they are and how they work is important in order to make a decision on which education loan is the right one for you.

PHOTO: Unsplash

1. Interest rates and processing fees

One of the most important factor to consider when deciding on a loan is the interest rate. When choosing a loan to finance your education, you would surely try to go for those with as low interest rates as possible.

However, there is also another fee which you may be less familiar with: the processing fee. Most of the banks in Singapore charge a processing fee of around 1.50 per cent to 2.50 per cent, and that could add up, especially with a high loan amount.

To ensure that you get the best deal, be on the lookout for promotional interest rates and processing fees and stay up to date with the latest announcements given by the banks.

2. Maximum loan limit

Some students may have to take out a loan of higher value due to their choice of university or degree. Others may also find limitations especially if their expenses are high. Hence, it is important to take note that most study loans do have a maximum loan limit.

For example, the POSB Further Assist has pretty low interest rates and processing fees, as well as low penalty charges. However, it has a rather limiting maximum loan amount of $80,000, which some students may find difficulty with.

On the other hand, the Maybank Education Loan offers one of the highest maximum loan limits amongst the banks in Singapore, of $200,000 or eight times of the monthly income of the student’s guarantor, making it suitable for those with high expenses, especially those studying abroad.

PHOTO: Unsplash

3) Payment structure

Of course, every loan requires repayment and a study loan is no different. It is of importance that you find out the repayment structure of the study loan which you are taking out.

Many education loans offered by the banks in Singapore have various repayment plans, which could either be the Standard Payment or Deferred Payment Loan Structure.

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For standard payment, it works just like a normal bank loan, where you will have to start repaying your loan in monthly instalments after you have taken it out.

Such a loan structure would be best suited for those who have financial support from their families, or those who have significant savings and income on the side. Standard payment would usually be less costly in the long run.

On the other hand, many study loans offer the deferred payment loan structure, where students can pay the interest on their study loans during their schooling years, but only require the repayment of the principal loan amount upon graduation after the student starts working full-time.

Although it might be more expensive, it is a flexible and excellent alternative for those who cannot afford to take out loans with a standard payment structure.

Let your education take flight with an education loan

Whether you are matriculating into a university this year, or are already an existing undergraduate, you may be looking for a better way to finance your education, given how school fees can be costly and take a toll on your finances and budget as a student.

You can click here to view our top picks of education loans, carefully analysed and evaluated by our research team. Alternatively, you could also take a look at the below education loans which offer some of the most competitive rates and features.

OCBC Frank education loan

Consider this if you require an education loan for a local university

  • Early repayment fee
    • 1 per cent of loan prepaid
  • Late payment fee
    • $50
  • Age
    • 17 & above
  OCBC Frank education loan
Processing fee 2.5 per cent
Interest rate 4.50 per cent
Tenure one-eight years
Max principal $150,000 or 10x monthly income of guarantor
Annual income requirement of guarantor $24,000

Considering the total cost of a student loan, which includes both processing fees and interest payments, OCBC's Frank education loan is one of the best options available in Singapore.

The bank charges the lowest available interest rate for education loans at 4.5 per cent and a reasonable processing fee of 2.5 per cent. It also has one of the allows students to borrow up to $150,000 or 10 times their monthly income, which allows for large loans than other banks. The table above summarizes all the main features of OCBC Frank Education Loan for those who are interested.

Maybank education loan

Consider this if you require a student loan with a low minimum income requirement for part-time studies

  • Early repayment fee
    • 1 per cent of loan prepaid
  • Late payment fee
    • 3 per cent min $30
  • Age
    • 18 & above
  Maybank education loan
Processing fee 1.5 per cent - 2.0 per cent
Interest rate 4.50 per cent - 4.78 per cent
Tenure one-eight Years
Max principal $200,000 or eight times monthly income of guarantor
Annual income requirement of guarantor $30,000

Maybank's education loan stands out due to its lowest minimum income requirement for part-time students seeking education financing. It is also one of the cheapest student loans for local studies, due to its low interest rate of 4.78 per cent and processing fee of 2 per cent.

The bank offers an even lower rate of 4.5 per cent, to students that attend its list of selected institutions. Finally, the bank offers some of the largest education loans in Singapore, with a maximum loan size of $200,000 or eight times the borrowers monthly income. Please see our table below for a detailed breakdown of the product.

Conclusion

A good education plays a crucial role in building the foundation to every successful career. Let your education and dreams take flight today, and don’t let your finances hold you back!

This article was first published in ValueChampion.