NUS study loan and DBS tuition fee loan (TFL)

After three and a half years of studies, I have finally graduated. I have always been thinking that I will be earning lots of money after graduation, well before that happens I have lots of debt to cover. Today, i received the bank’s repayment letter asking when am I going to start off the debts I have with them.

I have 2 loans, the NUS study loan

Need more financing? Study Loan provides you extra funds while you are studying.

and DBS tuition fee loan

A government-funded education loan that is offered by the local institutions and administered by DBS Bank to Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreign students studying in the respective local institutions#.

For those who took up NUS study loan, I just like to highlight that the NUS study load is in fact Interest Free! and it has a repayment period of 5 years.Oh and the minimum payment is S$100.00 per month

there are 2 types of study loan A & B – A is interest free while B is interest bearing

Then comes the expensive one, the DBS tuition fee loan – the interest is charge monthly and the interest is based on the prime rates of the 3 local bank. DBS, UOB and OCBC. Today I made a call to the DBS loan office and the prime rate is currently at 4.75% per annual. *note: the prime rates are revise every quarterly.

Thus you have to do your own calculation for the monthly interest πŸ™‚

The plan is simple for me, I am going to focus payment on the DBS tuition fee loan while paying only the minimum requirement for NUS study loan. This is to quicken the time to repay the loan to DBS because I do not wish to have the interest compounded otherwise it would be a bomb.

and I was actually dreaming big money after graduation, :p any way a quick tip for students going into NUS, SMU or NTU. The plan is to take up 80% of DBS 1uition fee loan and 20% NUS study loan at the start of your academic journey. Simply because study loan is interest free πŸ™‚

despite all the complains I have for my debt, I would have to say a fair statement that I do appreciate the subsidies that Singapore Government provide because with it my loan could be worst

my $0.02 on study loan.

#Local institutions refer to Singapore Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.

36 thoughts on “NUS study loan and DBS tuition fee loan (TFL)

  1. Thanks for your info Lee.

    I’ve received the DBS loan slip today, and the interest commencement date is on 1st of june, thus, i not being able to sent back the reply slip for a full repayment.
    so, if i do a full repayment on the 1st week of june, i would be charged by the interest which based on the prime rates, that u specified 4.75% per annual right ?

    so the calculation would b , (“my amount” * 4.75% ) 12 = june mth interest rite ?

    1. Hi there,

      Yeap, your calculation should be right. (I shared the same thought)
      but just in case you may like to call their customer services at 63330033 to confirm : )

  2. Hey Lee

    I googled “DBS bank loan NUS” and your blog came right up. Was wondering if you could provide one clarification that I have been seeking pertaining to the financial aid situation at NUS. Someone I know has gotten an admit to the School of Computing at NUS. He received an email from the NUS Office of Financial Aid stating that his need-based financial aid application is unsuccessful. Is this different from the scheme where DBS bank provides a loan? Any info on this would be really helpful.


    1. hi there,

      I am not quite sure about the “need based financial aid”
      but as far as I know, the DBS tuition fee loan is actually a bank loan for students in local higher education institutions. A student can take up to 90% of school loan from DBS. For me, I took up 80% school loan from DBS and 20% from NUS study loan.

      Here is a link on who is eligible for the DBS school loan, I believe if you do not fall into any of the category you should be able to get the loan πŸ™‚

      DBS Loan

      I hope this help otherwise you can call up the bank πŸ™‚ at 63330033 (Loan department)

  3. Hey Barghavi,

    The financial aid application of your friend might have been rejected because of insufficient documents or other technicalities. Check with the Financial Aid Unit ( in the university. Even if it wasn’t, you could appeal with a valid reason.

    And no, the rejection does not mean your friend can’t apply for a DBS Tuition Fee Loan. It has a different application process that is done after matriculation. Almost everyone who applies for it, is given the loan, provided they have a guarantor.


  4. Hi

    I would like to ask if we can still apply for DBS TFL on the 2nd year of study till graduation. I missed the submission dateline for DBS TFL application and I opt to pay my tution fees via GIRO currently.


  5. Hey i’m an african student. I just finished secondary school and want to study animation in singapore. I read that the government of singapore offers loans provided i’ll work 4 them 4 3yrs after graduation. Pls tell me can i apply 4 the loan and get it before i before i start school. Pls help. Thanx.

  6. Hi there.

    I understand how you feel, I too have both the NUS tuition fee loan and study loan. I have to work to put myself through Uni and when I graduate at the age of 25 i’m slapped with 30k worth of loans. Not exactly the life I was looking forward to! =)

  7. Hi,

    I had received offer letter from NUS for MS Mechanical Engg Programme for that i need to apply my tuition fee through load so how can i get loan from Singapore Bank?

    Plz help me.

  8. hi

    had received offer letter from NUS for MS Mechanical Engg Programme for that i need to apply my tuition fee through loan so how can i get loan from Singapore Bank?

  9. Hi, just want to have some clarification.
    It is written

    Interest computation is deferred until after
    graduation. Thereafter, interest will be based
    on the average prime rate of DBS, OCBC
    and UOB. Maximum repayment period is 20

    so that means, at graduation date, the computation will start with t=0 years, or t=4 years in calculation? (on other words, if I pay the loan just after graduation, does it count 4 years for the interest or no interest? If I pay the loan before graduation, is the interest still counted?). I don’t really sure about the word “deffered”..

    1. Hi,

      For my case, which I am still currently repaying my load and I had just received my statement from DBS.

      My interest starts on Jun 2010, I graduated in Dec 2009 but commencement was on 2010 this is because I went for NOC thus I had to deferred a sem. So I supposed once you graduated then interest would be charged. This I am quite sure.

      for the interest rate – I am charged 4.75% PA and this figure would be the average of prime rates from all 3 banks, if I am not wrong the figure would be revised on a quarterly basis.

      if you can pay the loan before graduation – that would be the best I guess… I supposed there would be no interest charged.
      however, just in case you could email DBS for more details

      Hopes this help

  10. Hi,

    I am an Indian planning to do my Full Time MBA at NUS in few months. Please let me know if banks such as DBS etc offer education loans to students like myself. I will be able to arrange for a co-signer who happens to be a PR in Singapore.

    Using NUS channels, through its Tuition Fee Loan Scheme…only graduate courses are eligible. Thus PG courses such as MBA won’t be covered !

  11. Hi,
    I am an international student from Indonesia. Just got accepted for the NUS Graduate Full-time Coursework Program for August 2011 Intake. I would like to apply for the Tuition Fee Loan. But I also received an offer for an MOE Subsidized fee. Is it possible if we apply for the MOE subsidized fee, then we apply the rest with the Loan Scheme from DBS? What is the actual right procedure to apply for the loan? step by step.

    Thank you.

    Enrica Rinintya

    1. Hi Enrica

      I believe you should go for the MOE Subsidized fee first before going to the bank to get the TFL. Once you know your outstanding amount, you can contact the bank again.

      But if case I am wrong I suggest you call 6333 0033
      or if you are overseas now, you can try
      (65) 6333 0033 from overseas,
      9:00am to 5:30pm Mon – Fri &
      9:00am to 12:30pm Sat excluding Public Holidays

      The above number is for DBS bank. If you are thinking of other banks eg OCBC.
      This is the link

      I hope this help

  12. I’m torn between studying in Malaysia or NTU. As the interest charged by the banks is really high, I will be in debt upon graduation in Singapore though I like the country very much and the reputation of the university is good.
    Yet, I’m worried about the prospects. I was offered Chemistry and Biological Chemistry by NTU.
    One week time for me to make a wise decision before the commencement date.
    Looking forward for reply from those who had gone through such situation and loan scheme.
    Thanks, I would really appreciate that.

    1. Hi there.

      I think the situation is the same for SIngaporean as well. When I graduated I was in debt too. A chuck of my income from my first job was given to school loan.

      Well I got some malaysia who faced the same problem before. Do you happen to have a twitter account?


  13. Hi,
    I am from India. Planning to study Engineering at NUS. I got lot of info from this page and links. My query:
    I must work at least 3 years in Singapore as a TG terms and to repay TFL. I am in dilemma that if I wont get the job after completion of NUS graduation. Can you please highlight, what is the career scope of Indian graduates in Singapore?

    1. Hi

      Personally I do not think finding a job in Singapore is hard :D, it’s just a matter of mindset.

      National University of Singapore provides lots of career opportunities before graduation. They have job fairs and even have career centre to vet your resume ect…

      Read more from this link –

      Cheers and hope to see you in SG soon πŸ˜€


  14. I am planning to take admission in M.Sc programme and I’m planning to apply to DBS for tuition fee loan. But what concerns me is other living expenses (like room rent+fooding charges etc). So can you tell me about on-campus job opportunities for financial support or other study loans available.

  15. I just happen to visit this thread and its really informative. I have a similar query. I am a student of Indian origin and will be joining NUS for M.Engg in civil. My course fee is MoE subsidized. I am also applying for service obligation scheme. Still I will be needing extra funds/loans. Are there any fair chances of getting BOTH, the DBS tuition fees loan (90% of fees payable by singaporean students p.a.) and NUS study loan (20%+3600 p.a.), given the fact that I will enjoy MoE subsidy and service obligation subsidy?

  16. Hi,
    Is the DBS loan only for undergrads or is it also applicable for international graduate coursework students?


    1. Hi,

      Actually DBS have few kind of education loans.

      The one I took up was Tuition Fee Loan.
      Who is eligible for this loan?
      “This loan is to all Singapore Citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreigners. There is no
      income requirement and age restriction.” read more here. It never really states about graduate coursework.

      But for the study loan, it does highlight that
      “Not applicable to postgraduate and fullfee paying undergraduate students”

      cheers I hope this helps.

  17. Hi there! Just to check with you, how do you know if the bank has paid the tuition fees for you per semester? Currently an NUS student, and I have applied for the TFL under DBS. Just wondering because I was informed by DBS that NUS goes to them directly when fees are due, so there seems to be no way that we are informed if our fees are paid for?

    1. Do you mean the NUS Study Loan or TFL
      – as long as you have your TFL approved by DBS, the debit takes place straight from the school the the bank.

      However in ur DBS internet banking, there will be an account that shows you how much you have loan. πŸ˜€
      I had mine, but you would not need to clear it till you graduated.


  18. Hey Im wondering what happen if I take a leave of absence from NUS? Does my DBS tuition fee loan’s interest kick in during that period (meaning i’m expected to make repayment too with interest) or will it remain interest free till i graduate?

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