Compared to other education levels, post-secondary education is usually considered the most expensive. Consequently, not everyone can afford it, forcing some to miss out. To avoid such a scenario, the government of Singapore has created the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA). It is an initiative by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to help parents save for their children’s post-secondary education.
Many students and parents are quite confused about PSEA. This article will be focusing on understanding various aspects of the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) in Singapore.
Who is Eligible for Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA)?
Every Singaporean. As long as you are a citizen, you can open a PSEA account for your kids. Each child should have an account. Once you open an account, you will get a one-time top-up of $200 for any child between 7 to 20 years old. No application process is required for this boost as it will hit the account soon after opening it. You will receive a letter informing you of the award.
Additionally, if the child is 16 years old, any money remaining in their Edusave account will automatically be moved to the PSEA account.
The money does not just sit idly in the account as it accumulates a 2.5% interest every year. You can top up the account anytime you wish to take advantage of this interest rate. The government will equally match the contributions until the child is 20. This applies to contributions up to a cap of S$6000 for the 1st and 2nd child and S$12000 for the 3rd and 4th child.
At age 21, the top-ups stop as the citizen is now considered an adult and will consequently receive other benefits from the government.
You can, however, continue contributing to the account until the citizen is 30 yrs of age. During their 31st year, the account is closed.
How to Use Your fund?
You can utilize the PSEA fund in various ways, they include:
- Pay for tuition fees in any MOE’S approved institution. Note that the funds cannot be used to pay for hostel fees or late fees.
- Pay for your siblings’ post-secondary education in any MOE’s approved institution.
- Pay for school excursions or any costs to be incurred on an overseas exchange program
- Pay off loans and other financing schemes under CPF Education Loan Scheme
- Ad-hoc withdrawals that have been accepted
- Setting up a standing order for recurring charges
It is advisable to utilize the funds in your PSEA account in any of the areas as mentioned above before you hit 31 years whereby the account shall be closed.
However, if there will still be some balance left, there is no need to worry. The money will be automatically transferred to your CPA-OA account.
Once that’s done, you cannot reverse the process. The funds will be subject to the terms and conditions that apply to the CPA-OA. This includes a higher interest rate of up to 3.5%.
You can use the funds to pay for housing, further education, and any investments you may be eyeing.
How to Withdraw the Funds in Your PSEA Account
You have to apply for a withdrawal whenever you need to use the funds. There are two ways to go about it.
- Establish a standing order with MOE
To establish an order, you will need to fill a form. Your details and that of the institution you are attending will be required.
There are different types of forms, and the one you need to fill will depend on the institution you are in. Therefore, you need to first check with your school to find out which form to fill.
To terminate a standing order, you must fill an online PSEA Standing Order Termination Form.
- Apply for Ad-Hoc Withdrawal
You can use this method when you need to withdraw the funds only once for a specific purpose, such as a semester’s fee or to pay for an overseas exchange program. Therefore, you will need to indicate how much you need to withdraw and its intended purpose.
If you need more money for the same purpose or another, you have to make another application.
How to Check the Balance?
Before applying for a withdrawal from your PSEA account, it is advisable to check the balance to avoid rejection due to insufficient funds.
To find out how much is in your account, call the PSEA hotline 6260 0777. Usually, every account is updated and refreshed on Wednesdays so, to get accurate information, it would be wise to call on this day or a day after.
Whenever you spend funds in your PSEA account, a statement will be automatically sent to you the following month. Additionally, in March every year, you will receive a statement.
How to Derive Maximum Benefits from a PSEA Account
The earlier you begin to save towards your child’s education, the better for you. It is, especially, wise to begin saving as much as possible in your child’s Child Development Account (CDA). This is because the government matches everything you save dollar for dollar. The funds will also keep accumulating interest year after year. This money will be transferred to their PSEA account when they reach 13 years.
Continue actively contributing before they are 20 yrs old and, if you can, ensure your contributions reach the set maximum cap, depending on whether the child is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. This way, the government will match your contributions, and the funds will keep accumulating interest.
Contributions after the age of 20 are also important as they will ensure the individual gets to complete their education unperturbed.
If there is still money left over after they reach 31, it is transferred to an account where the citizen can make use of it to stabilize themselves. Besides, the funds will earn even higher interests – so no loss.
In most parts of the world, post-secondary education costs a fortune. So many people have been locked out from this crucial education step following insufficient funds. Luckily, the government of Singapore has come up with a solid plan to help cushion its people. Through the PSEA program, attaining post-secondary education for its citizens is now achievable. You only need to save religiously and make the best use of your account.
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