Edusave and PSEA accounts help to cushion our wallets when we pay for pricey school loans and academic activities, but can they really pay for everything school-related? Can the funds be withdrawn? Here’s everything you need to know.
Primary and secondary education in Singapore are relatively affordable. But when it comes to expensive overseas school trips or enrichment activities, your child’s PSEA or Edusave account can help to cover the full expenses so you don’t have to fork out your own money.
Many parents are aware that these accounts exist, and may use the funds to pay for school-related expenses, but not many know exactly what the funds are for (until the consent forms arrive), why there seems to be a perpetual balance and why they exist in the first place.
So if you’ve got burning questions regarding your child’s Edusave or PSEA, we’ll answer them all here.
What is the Edusave Account?
In case you were wondering why your child has an Edusave Account, it is actually opened automatically for every Singapore Citizen, with funds consisting of the balance from their Child Development Account (CDA) as well as annual contributions from the government.
Singaporeans who are studying in MOE-funded schools will receive annual contributions from primary one all the way until to secondary school. For those who are not studying in MOE-funded schools (including madrasahs, privately-funded schools, homeschooled or residing overseas), they’ll still receive yearly top-ups from seven to 16 years old.
In 2021, the government has given primary school students S$230, while secondary school students have received S$290.
What is the PSEA?
The Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) is also automatically opened for all eligible Singaporeans and can be considered as an extension of the Edusave Account since the unused funds from there will be transferred over to this account.
The PSEA was created as part of the post-secondary education scheme to help parents save up for their child’s post-secondary education in a polytechnic or ITE. Though it states ‘post-secondary’, the funds cannot be used for Junior College and Millennia Institute expenses.
Edusave Account VS PSEA
To give you a sense of what these two accounts are all about, here’s a quick comparison between the Edusave Account and PSEA.
||Edusave Account||PSEA Account|
|Age eligibility||Until 16 years old||Until 30 years old|
|Interest rate||2.5% p.a.||2.5% p.a.|
|What do the funds comprise?||Government annual top-upsOne-off budget top-upsEdusave awards and scholarshipsEdusave grants||One-off budget top-ups|
|What can the funds be used for?||Approved enrichment programmes organised by schools2nd-tier miscellaneous feesMiscellaneous fees for autonomous government and government-aided schoolsPersonal learning devices under the digital learning programme organised by schools||Approved programmes in the list of approved institutions for oneself or siblingsPay government education loans and financing schemesEstablish a standing order for approved recurring chargesAd-hoc withdrawal applications|
|What can I withdraw the money for?||For child’s educational use only if your he/she is not in an educational institution||For any of the reasons stated above|
|How can I withdraw the funds?||Submit withdrawal application||Establish a Standing Order with MOESubmit an ad hoc withdrawal application|
|How can I check the balance?||Call the Edusave/PSEA 24-hour hotline at 6260 0777||Call the Edusave/PSEA 24-hour hotline at 6260 0777|
|Where do the funds go afterwards?||Into the PSEA account||Into the CPF Ordinary Account (OA)|
#1 Age eligibility
Edusave Accounts are opened from seven to 16 years old, and will be automatically closed once your child hits 17. For PSEA, it is open from 16 to 30 years old, and will cease in the middle of the year when the student turns 31 years old.
#2 Interest rate
The interest rate for both the Edusave Account and PSEA is 2.5% p.a., which is actually a decent rate, considering how the CPF Ordinary Account (OA) also has the same rate.
However, since the accounts will be closed at specific ages, the drawback is the limited number of years that the funds can accumulate interest. Moreover, most of the funds would also have been more or less spent during the time period of the PSEA, since there are no longer any annual contributions, making it difficult to accumulate any significant amount.
Compared to other low-risk savings accounts like Singapore Savings Bonds and fixed deposits offered by banks, the interest rate is also way higher, making it a great way to kickstart your child’s finances if you’re planning to save up for their higher education.
#3 What do the funds comprise?
For Edusave, there will be annual top-ups by the government every year in February (S$230 for primary school students and S$290 for secondary sch students in 2021), as well as one-off budget top-ups. MOE recently announced a top-up of S$200 for every child under 21 years old under the Household Support Package for 2021 for both Edusave and PSEA accounts. Aside from these top-ups, funds will also be channelled into your child’s Edusave Account when your child receives Edusave grants or Edusave awards and scholarships.
As for PSEA, though there isn’t an annual contribution, your child can still benefit from one-off top-ups by the government. But if you’re thinking of topping up funds from your own pocket, you are unfortunately not allowed to do so.
#4 What can the funds be used for?
Though it may seem that the Edusave and PSEA account funds are a godsend, don’t assume that you can use them on anything academic-related. You only can use the funds for specific purposes:
- Approved enrichment programmes organised by schools
- Second-tier miscellaneous fees
- Miscellaneous fees for autonomous government and government-aided schools
- Personal learning devices in secondary schools, junior colleges and Millennia Institute under the digital learning programme organised by schools
However, do note that the above uses are only applicable for students in MOE-funded schools. If your child is not studying in an MOE-funded school, the funds can only be used for approved enrichment programmes.
Here is a list of what the Edusave Account funds can be used for:
- Approved programmes in the list of approved institutions for oneself or siblings
- Pay government education loans (tuition fee loan, study loan or overseas student programme loan) and financing schemes (loans under education loan scheme for autonomous universities, polytechnics, ITE and art institutions)
- Establish a standing order for approved recurring charges
- Ad-hoc withdrawal applications
To withdraw the PSEA funds for repayment of loans and financing schemes, you can submit an application online using SingPass. On top of that, PSEA funds cannot be used for Junior College and Millennia Institute expenses, but you can use your child’s Edusave contributions instead.
#5 What can I withdraw the money for and how?
For those wondering if you can withdraw the money, yes you can, but certainly not for your child’s own expenses.
Those studying in an educational institution can check with the school directly for Edusave withdrawals to pay for educational expenses. But if your child is no longer studying in an approved institution, you can submit a withdrawal application directly to MOE so you can use the funds for his education, only if the programmes are within the approved guidelines. The funds will then be transferred into your child’s designated bank account. Do note that you’ll have to fill up the Direct Authorisation Form as well for first time claimants.
For PSEA, you can apply for a PSEA Standing Order which is a one-time application that will apply to future withdrawals. Alternatively, there’s also an ad hoc withdrawal application that you can apply for when you want to use the funds for any educational purposes as stated in the above section.
#6 How can I check the balance?
You can easily check your child’s Edusave Account and PSEA balance by calling the 24-hour hotline at 62600777. Those who hate making phone calls with a passion can rest assured that you won’t be speaking to a real officer but an automated voicemail instead.
#7 Where do the funds go afterwards?
Do my funds just cease to exist once the account closes? Certainly not! Just like how the funds from the CDA will be transferred to your child’s Edusave account, leftover funds from the Edusave Account will be automatically channelled into the PSEA at 16 years old.
Leftover PSEA funds will also be automatically transferred into your child’s CPF OA at 30 years old, so you don’t have to worry about ensuring that the funds are completely used when your child graduates.
Though it definitely might feel way better receiving the excess funds in cold, hard cash, having the funds parked in the CPF OA isn’t that bad. Not only can the funds accumulate interest (2.5% p.a.), it can also be used for a range of things like purchasing a house, paying off tuition loan, investing, monthly insurance premiums and even for retirement – all part of adulting that your child will eventually have to go through. You can also top-up extra cash if you’d like.
Parents who want to start saving up for their children’s education early don’t have to depend entirely on Edusave and PSEA accounts. Instead, you can opt for alternatives like savings accounts where you’re able to deposit and park any amount of money from your own pocket.
Alternatively, if you’re all about wealth accumulation, you can start investing with robo advisors to make the money grow faster.
Read these next:
Singapore Budget 2021: 5 Ways It Will Affect Your Daily Life
4 Reasons Why You Should Voluntarily Contribute To Your Children’s CPF
A Complete Guide To CPF In Singapore (2021)
Best Savings Accounts For Kids To Deposit Ang Bao Money
Are You Saving Enough For Your Child’s Education?
By Deborah Gan
A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke.