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Local universities make more room for Singaporean undergrads who had planned to study abroad

LOCAL universities will take in both new and enrolled Singaporean undergraduates whose overseas study plans have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has said.

Some 2,000 offers were made to an unspecified number of for fresh school-leavers, which are expected to bump up this year's autonomous university (AU) cohort participation rate from 40 per cent to up to 42 per cent.

This means that more than four in every 10 students in this cohort will get to read for a degree in one of the six local universities - a shade above the target that was set in 2012.

Meanwhile, public universities are also reviewing bids by Singaporeans who were studying abroad but now want to transfer schools, according to a statement from MOE on Monday.

The ministry said that "a small number of such applications" have been made, although it did not give a specific figure. These applications are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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"The (autonomous universities) are prepared to take in as many of these transfer cases as they can accommodate - including for courses such as medicine - and subject to applicants meeting the admission criteria," it added.

Otherwise, Singaporeans who plan to resume overseas studies can also still sign up for short modular courses or apply to enrol for one semester at the autonomous universities, MOE noted.

"Taken together, MOE hopes that these measures will provide useful options for students who are now reassessing their plans to study overseas due to Covid-19," said the ministry.

Singapore has six publicly-funded universities - Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Social Sciences, and Singapore University of Technology and Design.

 Amendment note: An earlier version of this story stated that 2,000 places have been set aside. In fact, 2,000 offers have been made and not all will be accepted by the applicants. This will affect the final number of places taken up, and the cohort participation rate. The story has been amended to reflect this.

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