What’s The Difference Between Tuition Fee Loan And Study Loan?

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Last updated 13 July, 2022

Find out more about each type of loan and decide which one is right for you.

As a student, there are many different types of loans that you can take out to help pay for your education. Two of the most common are tuition fee loans and study loans. But what's the difference between them? We discuss the differences between tuition fee loans and study loans so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Many Singapore students rely on the study loan and tuition fee loan to help them pay for their education. The tuition fee loan covers up to 90% of a student's subsidised tuition price, with the study loan covering the remainder. Furthermore, the study loan offers a loan to assist students in meeting their day-to-day living expenses.

Related to this topic:
Guide To Tuition Fee Loans In Singapore – What Are Your Options For Funding Your University And Polytechnic Studies?
CPF Education Loan: How Much CPF Funds Can You Use?

Tuition fee loan in Singapore 

A tuition fee loan is a type of loan that helps students pay for their tuition fees. This type of loan is available to students who are studying in Singapore. The amount you can borrow depends on the school you are attending and your course of study.

There are several advantages to using a tuition fee loan to pay for your tuition fees: 

  • Firstly, tuition fee loans are usually offered at a lower interest rate than other loans. 
  • Secondly, the tuition fee loan repayment period is generally longer than for other loans. This means that you will have more time to repay the loan, and it will be more affordable for you.

One thing to note about tuition fee loans is that they are not available to students studying in private schools. If you are studying in a private school, you will need to take out a study loan. 

MOE Tuition Fee Loan 

The tuition fee loan, also known as the tuition grant, is a scheme set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to help students finance their tuition fees. The tuition fee loan can only be used by local institutions such as universities, polytechnics, and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).


  • Students enrolled full-time at any of the polytechnics.
  • Students enrolled full-time in subsidised undergraduate and postgraduate programs at autonomous institutions.
  • Singapore citizen students enrolled in part-time subsidised undergraduate programs at autonomous institutions.

How does it work?

The Tuition Fee Loan pays for:

  • Polytechnic students can get up to 75% of their subsidised costs
  • Singapore citizen university students can get up to 90% of their subsidised tuition fees

The loan is valid for the duration of the course. It is interest-free during the study period, with interest starting only after graduation. The maximum payback time for loans obtained at the polytechnic level is 10 years. For loans taken at the university level, the maximum repayment period is 20 years.

How to apply

  • Students at Singapore Management University (SMU) are welcome to contact the university
  • Students at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) can apply to DBS or OCBC
  • All other students are welcome to approach DBS

SMU Tuition Fee Loan

SMU receives interest and the loan principal upon repayment, and if the student withdraws, the loan must be repaid in full.

Eligible to apply

  • All undergraduate students enrolled full-time
  • Undergraduate students who pay the full fees are not eligible
  • Other types of undergraduate students who are not qualified are listed on the application form

Amount of loan

Undergraduate Singaporean students can subsidise up to 90% of their tuition expenses.

  • The loan amount does not include the payment of annual/other fees
  • The loan amount is linked to the discounted tuition costs paid by Singaporean undergraduate students


  • Must be 21-60 years old
  • Must not be bankrupt or a student seeking full-time education
  • May not hold this position with more than two unpaid student loans, including this loan
  • Must be a Singapore citizen for a Singapore citizen applicant
  • Regarding an applicant who is a Singapore permanent resident, can be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident
  • Can be of any nationality for a non-Singaporean applicant


Repayment begins no later than two years after graduating or after obtaining work, whichever comes first. The minimum monthly payment is S$100, and the maximum payback duration is 20 years.

DBS Tuition Fee Loan

The tuition fee loan from DBS is differentiated for universities and polytechnics.


  • Singapore students may pay up to 90% of their subsidised tuition expenses
  • Interest-free throughout education, charged at DBS, OCBC, and UOB's average prime rate after graduation

All students enrolled in any of the local universities or NIEs who do not fall under any of the following categories are eligible for this loan:

  • Students that get any government / statutory board/school scholarship that covers tuition fees
  • MENDAKI students who receive full Tuition Fee Subsidy
  • Students who use their CPF funds to pay for their discounted tuition expenses
  • Students enrolled in self-financed courses
  • Non-Singaporean/Permanent Resident students that pay full tuition (not eligible for any Tuition Fee Grant)

There is no minimum income criterion or age limit.

  • Should be aged 21 to 60 years
  • Isn't a bankrupt who hasn't been discharged
  • Must be a Singapore citizen for a Singapore citizen applicant
  • For an applicant who is a Singapore permanent resident, the guarantor should be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident
  • The guarantor should be a Singaporean, a permanent resident, or an international student
  • A maximum payback duration of 20 years is permitted
  • The repayment period will begin no later than two years following graduation
  • The loan can be repaid in one sum or equal monthly payments of at least S$100


  • Up to 75% of the subsidised tuition fees can be funded
  • Interest-free throughout studies; after graduation, charged at the average prime rate of DBS, OCBC, and UOB

All full-time sponsored diploma students at any of the local polytechnics who do not fall into any of the following categories are eligible for this loan:

  • Students who get any government / statutory board / school scholarship that covers tuition expenses
  • MENDAKI students who receive full Tuition Fee Support
  • Students who use their CPF funds to pay for their discounted tuition expenses

There is no minimum income criterion or age limit.


The guarantor system is similar to that of the university.

  • 10 years is the maximum payback duration
  • The repayment period will begin no later than one year following graduation
  • The loan can be repaid in one sum or equal monthly payments of at least S$100

Study Loan

The government has introduced the Study Loan for students in Singapore who find themselves struggling to finance their education. The loan is available to students who have already taken up the Tuition Fee Loan and whose gross monthly per capita income is S$2,700 or less. 

The Study Loan can be used to finance the remaining fees, making it easier for students from low-income families to receive a quality education. So far, the response to the loan has been positive, with many students finding it helpful in financing their studies. With the Study Loan, more students than ever before will be able to achieve their educational goals.

Related to this topic:
A Cost Guide To School Fees In Singapore: Primary, Secondary, Post-Secondary and Tertiary
When to Use a Personal Loan for Education
Why You Should Use An Education Loan (Even If You Have The Money)

NTU Study Loan

The NTU Study Loan is differentiated by the full-time programme and the part-time programme.

Full-time Programme

The Study Loan is intended for both domestic and foreign undergraduates that want financial support to cover a portion of their tuition and living costs.

  • Students will only be covered for the first three years of the Biomedical Sciences & Chinese Medicine program.
  • Singapore permanent resident/ students from other countries who pay non-subsidized tuition costs are ineligible to qualify for financial help
  • The Study Loan is not a secured loan and can only be granted to individuals who fulfil the eligibility requirements
  • It should be held alongside one or more of the following schemes: Tuition Fee Subsidy / Mendaki Loan / Tuition Fee Loan / Post Secondary Education Account / CPF Education Loan Scheme
  • The monthly family income per person for Singaporean and SPR students must be S$2,700
  • International students must have a monthly household income per person of S$1,200

Starts six months after graduating or six months after starting work, whichever comes first, with a repayment period of up to 5 years (if the loan is interest-free) or up to 20 years (if the loan is interest-bearing).

Part-time Programme

The NTU Study Loan (PT) is available to Singaporean part-time undergraduates who need help paying their tuition fees.

Who qualifies?
  • Part-time Singaporean students earning their first undergraduate degree are eligible
  • Must be held concurrently with the maximum Tuition Fee Loan of 90%
  • Monthly household income per capita is S$2,700

It is similar to the terms for the full-time programme.

OCBC Student Loan

The OCBC bank has three types of student loans:

Frank Education Loan

The loan caters to students studying at local private and overseas institutions.



  • Once your loan has been disbursed, you must pay your monthly instalments (principal + interest)
  • Annual effective interest rate: 5.17%


  • Pay solely the interest while you're learning
  • After graduation, begin paying principal plus interest
  • Annual effective interest rate: 5.06%

Graduated Plus

  • Pay just interest while studying plus one year after graduation
  • From the third year thereafter, pay principal plus interest
  • Annual effective interest rate: 5.01%

Note: The loan duration for Graduated and Graduated Plus loans covers the study term.

Frank Tuition Fee Loan

This is for students enrolled in a public university (e.g., NTU, NUS and NIE). There is no interest and no payments while you are studying.

Frank Study Loan

For NUS students who want to supplement their Tuition Cost Loan Fund with up to 20% of the discounted tuition fee and up to S$3,600 living allowance each year.

If you're looking for a reliable and affordable education loan in Singapore, be sure to check out the best education loans available at SingSaver. We allow you to compare the top providers, so you can be confident that you’re getting the best deal possible. 


Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

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