A medical education, even a highly subsidised one such as the NUS undergraduate course, remains expensive to many.
A survey by the NUS Medical Society back in 2008 found that about 21%, or 250 medical students in the NUS undergraduate course, have a monthly household income of less than $3,000. Another 26% come from households that earn between $3,000 to $5,000 a month.
There are a number of bursaries, financial assistance schemes and loans which can help pay for the NUS tuition fees, but what about basic living expenses for the poorer students? We know some of these students have managed by giving tuition – unfortunately, at the expense of their own studies.
The same survey found that a NUS medical student needs at least $4,410 a year to survive day-to-day (transport, food, books and miscellaneous), or $367.50 a month.
To help the poorer students with their basic living expenses, and in partnership with the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and with the support of the NUS Development Office, SMA has set up the SMA MEDICAL STUDENTS’ ASSISTANCE FUND (SMA-MSAF), a bursary program to help these needy medical students. The bursary amount was set at $3,600 a year per student in 2007 and was subsequently adjusted to $4,000 from in 2009. SMACF raised the bursary amount to $5,000 a year starting from 2014. To date, the bursary progam has benefited 252 medical students from all 3 medical schools : NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Medical School.
100% of bursaries disbursed go directly to the students and will not be directly offset against outstanding tuition fees, nor will it become part of an endowment fund.
Monetary donations of $50 and above will qualify for 250% tax deduction.