Students interested in pursuing tertiary education in Singapore should be prepared to pay higher fees over the next few years, said a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

According to the study, which was released on Sunday, a four-year degree in the Southeast Asian city-state is projected to cost 70.2 percent of an individual’s average yearly income by 2030.

Achieving a degree in the region already costs a pretty penny, as last year it was estimated to cost 53.1 percent of an average annual salary.

A local undergraduate starting their degree this academic year at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) faculty of arts and social sciences will have to pay SG$8,050 (US$5,834) per year – an increase from SG$7,950 (US$5,762) last year, reported The Straits Times.

In 2015, Singapore was ranked 11th out of 25 countries in terms of education affordability as a percentage of annual income.

Singapore’s education expenditure is also expected to decline, mainly due to low birth rates and an aging population.

The study forecasted that Singapore’s labor force will see more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates joining, with a slight increase to 0.4 percent in 2030 from last year’s 0.3 percent.

The report’s editor, Chris Clague, said the rise in STEM graduates could be worrying, as it might lead to a skills mismatch.

However, he clarified that it would depend on the country’s priorities at the time and if its job market required those with STEM skills, adding that the knowledge and skills gained from studying in STEM fields are used in more occupations than traditionally thought, including finance, sales and marketing.

The study, entitled “Yidan Prize Forecast: Education to 2030”, was commissioned by the Yidan Prize Foundation, a global education foundation set up by Chinese internet entrepreneur Charles Chen Yidan.

The study, which was carried out from January to March, analyzed future trends in education across 25 economies, including Hong Kong, the United States, Germany and Japan.

It focused on five indicators: public expenditure on education; youth unemployment rates; affordability of education; number of graduates in the STEM fields; and Internet access in schools.

Out of the 25 countries surveyed, Singapore ranked in the lower half for government investment in education (24th) and the number of STEM graduates it produces (20th), while in terms of tertiary education affordability, it ranked 13th. The country is expected to have low youth unemployment rates (6th) and have among the best internet access for schools (4th).

Image via Flickr.

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