Share this Article
Ng CL, Tambyah PA, Wong CY
Correspondence: Mr Ng Chew Lip, email@example.com
Introduction Medical tuition fees have been rising in many countries, including in Singapore. No formal study has been conducted to evaluate the financial situation of medical students in relation to the cost of medical education in Singapore. This study was conducted to determine the financial profile of Singaporean medical students and the financial expenses they incur over the five-year duration of their undergraduate medical course.
Methods A questionnaire study was conducted among Year one to Year five medical students in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. The following quantifiable parameters were analysed: monthly household income, financial assistance, monthly allowances and expenses.
Results 64.3 percent (735) of the 1,143 undergraduates completed the survey. 21.9 percent came from families with a monthly income of less than S$3,000, with another 26.2 percent from families with monthly incomes of S$3,000–S$5,000. The total tuition fees for a five-year medical course amounted to S$87,450. The average annual expenditure of medical students amounted to S$4,470. 31.1 percent of respondents were on loans. 14.6 percent received scholarships or bursaries.
Conclusion A five-year medical course can cost more than S$100,000 and pose a significant financial burden for students. The proportion of students who came from lower-income families was lower in medical school than at the national level, while the proportion from high-income families was significantly higher than at the national level. A significant proportion of students took loans to pay for tuition, and a smaller percentage was under scholarships and bursaries. More substantial financial assistance is required, particularly for students from lower-income families.
Keywords: education costs, medical education, medical student
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(5): 462-467