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Support for continuing education available

  • The Straits Times (26 August) : "Allow use of CPF for part-time postgraduate course fee

Support for continuing education available - The Straits Times, 8 September 2020 

  1. We thank Mr. Alan Tan for his letter ("Allow use of CPF for part-time postgraduate course fee" 26 August).

  2. The Government introduced the CPF Education Scheme to help CPF members finance their own and their children’s local basic tertiary education.The CPF savings withdrawn plus interest will have to be repaid in cash one year after the student’s graduation.

  3. Students who have graduated with basic tertiary qualifications are able to earn an income and build up their savings for further studies.There are also alternative financing options available. For example, individuals may wish to consider using their Post-Secondary Education Account or SkillsFuture Credit to offset their out-of-pocket fees for eligible courses. They can also approach the respective Institutes of Higher Learning or training providers to enquire about other available financing options such as tuition fee loan schemes.

  4. Apart from full qualification programmes, the Government provides course fee subsidies of up to 90 percent for other continuing education and training courses.These include courses supported by the Ministry of Education and SkillsFuture Singapore, which are delivered by Institutes of Higher Learning and private training providers.

  5. While we appreciate Mr Tan’s point of view, we must also balance it with consideration of CPF’s primary objective, which is to help Singaporeans save for their retirement needs, and the alternatives available to fund postgraduate courses.

Sim Feng Ji
Divisional Director
Income Security Policy Division
Ministry of Manpower 


 Allow use of CPF for part-time postgraduate course fee The Straits Times, 26 August, Forum, pB5


I am doing a master's programme at the Institute of Systems Science, National University of Singapore.


The course fee is about $40,000 - quite a big sum.


Although I can afford it, I would rather save this money for a rainy day, especially during this period of uncertainty, and utilise my Central Provident Fund (CPF) to pay for this part-time postgraduate course instead.


Unfortunately, the CPF Board does not allow this. I can do so only if I were an undergraduate doing a full-time course.


There is so much prompting from the Government for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), like myself, to upgrade our skill sets and knowledge.


It is time for the CPF Board to review its policy and ensure it stays relevant. As a safeguard, it can always set a cap on the amount one can withdraw for part-time courses.


Alan Tan (Mr)