UNDERSTANDING TUITION FEES FOR NUS MASTER'S DEGREE BY COURSEWORK PROGRAMMES AND GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Tuition fees for Master's Degree by Coursework programmes are shown on the NUS School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (NUS SCALE) website as the whole amount payable for a normal candidature period, both excluding and including Goods and Services Tax (GST). This is intended to allow students to better plan their finances throughout their entire studies.
How are Tuition Fees Charged?
How tuition fees are payable varies from programme to programme.
For some programmes, the tuition fee payable depends on the number of Modular Credits (MCs) taken by a student in a semester.
For other programmes, the tuition fee is paid in equal instalments per semester over the course of a normal candidature period. For example, suppose a programme has a tuition fee of S$40,000 (excluding GST) and a normal candidature period of four semesters; this would mean a student would pay S$10,000 (excluding GST) per semester.
What is GST?
GST is a broad-based consumption tax levied on the import of goods (collected by Singapore Customs), as well as nearly all supplies of goods and services in Singapore. In other countries, GST is known as the Value-Added Tax or VAT. GST is applicable to the tuition fees for NUS Master's Degree by Coursework programmes.
Since 1 Jul 2007, the GST rate has been 7%. In Budget 2022, the Minister for Finance announced that the GST rate will be increased from (i) 7% to 8% with effect from 1 Jan 2023; and (ii) 8% to 9% with effect from 1 Jan 2024.
How would the Increase in GST Rate Affect Students?
This is relatively straightforward for students in programmes that charge by MCs taken in a particular semester: they will be charged at the applicable GST rate when their tuition fees are payable. So, for instance, a student in a programme with a tuition fee of S$1,000 (excluding GST) per MC who takes 12 MCs in the semester starting Aug 2022 would need to pay (12 x S$1,000) x 1.07, which is S$12,840 (including 7% GST) in tuition fees that semester. The same student taking 12 MCs in next semester (starting Jan 2023), would need to pay (12 x S$1,000) x 1.08, which is S$12,960 (including 8% GST) for that semester.
The increase in GST rate would affect students in programmes where the tuition fee is payable in equal instalments per semester over the course of a normal candidature period a little differently. So, to continue from the example above—where a programme has a tuition fee of S$40,000 (excluding GST) and a normal candidature period of four semesters—a student joining the Aug 2022 intake of this programme would find that the tuition fees inclusive of GST payable per semester will vary.
The first semester would fall before 31 Dec 2022, which means that a GST of 7% is applicable on the S$10,000 tuition fee due that semester, and the student needs to pay S$10,700 (including GST).
The second and third semesters fall between 1 Jan 2023 and 31 Dec 2023. The tuition fee payable exclusive of GST remains S$10,000, but because the GST applicable would now be 8%, the student needs to pay S$10,800 (including GST).
The fourth semester is after 1 Jan 2024, and the GST of 9% would have come into effect, meaning that while the tuition fee excluding GST is still S$10,000, the student needs to pay S$10,900 (including GST).
What is the Formula to Calculate the Total Tuition Fee (including GST)?
For students in programmes where the tuition fee is chargeable based on the MCs taken in a specific semester:
Tuition Fee Chargeable per MC (Excluding GST) x Number of MCs Taken That Semester x GST Applicable in that Semester
For students in programmes where the tuition fee is paid in equal instalments per semester over the course of a normal candidature period:
First, calculate the tuition fee (excluding GST) to be paid per semester:
Total Programme Tuition Fee (Excluding GST) / Number of Semesters in a Normal Candidature Period
Then, calculate the tuition fee (including GST) for each semester:
Tuition Fee (Excluding GST) per Semester x GST Applicable in that Semester
Finally, sum up the tuition fees (including GST) for all the semesters to arrive at the total tuition fee (including GST) for the entire programme.
Why is a Range being Shown on the Website for the Total Tuition Fee (including GST)?
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) requires amounts payable to be shown inclusive of GST (with some exceptions being allowed, where amounts excluding GST can be shown instead).
In the current situation, it would be inaccurate to show a fixed amount for the total tuition fee (including GST) because of variations due to the GST increase, and a number of other factors (including whether a student is taking up a full-time or part-time mode of study, requests for deferment or leave of absence, etc.).
After the GST rate stabilises, it would be possible to return to showing a fixed amount for the total tuition fee (including GST).
Is More Information About Tuition Fees and GST Available?
Anyone who needs help to determine how much funds to set aside when applying for a Master's Degree by Coursework programme offered by NUS can contact us.
General information about tuition (and other) fees at NUS can be found through the Office of Finance.
For more detailed information about GST, please visit the IRAS website.
OTHER NUS MASTER’S DEGREES (BY COURSEWORK)
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