Weighing the cost
HOW much does it cost to pursue higher education in the country? Making sure their children get a degree is so important to parents here that most are willing to spend all their savings and even go into debt to finance their education.
A HSBC Bank study last year stated that 57 per cent of the 411 Malaysian parents surveyed took up loans to fund their offspring’s university education, even with savings in hand. Parents in the country spend an average of RM38,000 a year on their child’s university education.
However, while the London-based Expert Market survey ranked Malaysia as the fifth most expensive country to get a higher education, it also ranked the country as having the cheapest tuition fees out of the top 10 most expensive places for tertiary education. Looking into the income to cost of education ratio, it reported that parents here spend more than half their salary on education.
HOW PARENTS ARE COPING
Sheikh Azmir Sheikh Mokhtar, 51, a civil engineer, said he and his wife make sacrifices for the sake of their children’s education.
Their children, Sheikh Mohamed Naim and Nur Izzah, are pursuing tertiary education at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and at Universiti Teknologi MARA respectively.
”I paid for my eldest son’s foundation studies including rent for an apartment, averaging RM15,000 per year. His pocket money for food, mobile phone bills, petrol and car maintenance is close to RM1,000 per month.
“He has a car for ease of transport on campus and to the nearby town. He rode a bicycle initially but was exposed to the weather. GrabCar and Uber were not in existence then,” said Sheikh Azmir.
Now his son’s four-year undergraduate course is funded by a loan of RM93,000 from MARA.
Sheikh Azmir said he bought an education plan for RM2,000 which helped to pay for his daughter’s studies.
”Her tuition fees are RM1,200 per year. She used to stay at a hostel which cost RM300 per semester. But now that she’s staying off campus, her rent is cost RM910 for all programmes except dentistry (RM970) and built environment (RM1,050).
The total cost of tuition fees for non-science courses such as Islamic Studies, Malay Studies, Language and Linguistic, Economics and Administration, Education, Business and Accounting, Arts and Social Sciences, Law, and Cultural Studies are in the range of RM7,500 to RM9,800. Science programmes like Dentistry, Medicine, Architecture, Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology, and Sports, cost between RM8,000 and RM15,000 for the three to four years of studies.
”Programmes such as Engineering and Dentistry cost more because of the access to facilities such as laboratory, technical equipment and the longer duration of study,” said Fatima.
Sunway Education Group senior executive director Dr Elizabeth Lee said its university fees vary from programme to programme and the length of the course. Sunway College and Sunway University programmes range from pre-university and financial courses to diploma, degree and the American Degree Transfer programmes.
”Education counsellors advise students on the right programme for them. They also counsel students and their parents on the fees and payment schemes available.
“Mindful of the increased cost of living, we have made a conscious decision not to further burden families by maintaining our programme fees where possible.
”Sunway programmes are more affordable than studying overseas, especially in light of the weaker ringgit. It is indeed more cost-effective to pursue pre-university and undergraduate studies at Sunway, and obtain dual certificates on completion of its degree programmes, validated by Lancaster University,” said Lee.
Sunway’s fees range between RM47,000 and RM100,000 for courses such as American Degree Programme, Bachelor of Science (Hons), Accounting and Finance. Those who want to study overseas can pursue a twinning degree programme under Victoria University at Sunway and opt to transfer at
Sheikh Azmir Sheikh Mokhtar