5 Muslim-Friendly, Interest-Free Study Loans & Grants that you should know

If you’re reading this, you might already doing some research on how you’re going to finance that business degree that you’ve been successfully selected in.

Or you’re looking for some form of financial assistance while you’re supporting yourself with a part-time job to tide through the university days.

Or… you’re simply not interested to take up that bank loan that tied you with interest to fund it.

Whichever above group you belong to, the short answer is – yes, there are ways to do it.

Here, at SmartMamat, we have handpicked 5 options that you should consider.

Here it is:

1. Yayasan Mendaki

Yayasan Mendaki, which started out in 1982, is by far the largest Muslim organisation in Singapore. With the idea to empower the Muslim community through excellence in education, they give out an extensive selection of scholarships, bursaries, subsidies and interest-free study loans to deserving students, regardless of race, in both academic and non-academic fields.

If you feel you have a reasonably strong academics and/or non-academic track records, do consider and give a shot in applying for their scholarships and bursaries.

Recipients of the Anugerah Belia Cemerlang Mendaki 2018
Recipients of the Anugerah Belia Cemerlang Mendaki 2018
| Source: Yayasan Mendaki website

Besides that, they offer the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) scheme to Malay/Muslim students, with coverage between 50-100% of the tuition fees, depending on your household income.

If you’re not eligible for the above schemes, fret not – they also offer interest-free study loan scheme to further your studies, and the monthly repayments only starts after your graduation and the amount are kept low while gradually increasing as the beneficiaries’ career progresses through the years.

2. LBKM

LBKM, or also known as Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud (which means “Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board” in english) was formed in 1965 specifically to cater to the financial needs of needy Malay/Muslim students in Singapore.

Similar to Yayasan Mendaki, they have various bursaries and scholarships, depending on the gift value, the institution you’re enrolled for and the nature of the courses.

For example, if you’re enrolling in one of these prestigious universities in the world, University of Oxford, for example, you’re eligible for S$10,000.

Or if you’re going to pursue a Future Economy degree (read: degree with high relevance and impact in the years to come) such as Computer Science, you can get up to S$5,000.

3 recipients from NUS received the Future Economy Scholarships from LBKM in 2017.
3 recipients from NUS received the Future Economy Scholarships from LBKM in 2017
| Source: Berita Harian

Good news for knowledge seekers who’re pursuing Ukhrawi or Islamic religious studies – LBKM also set aside funds for further studies, from Bachelor’s Degree and up to PhD.

3. AMP

AMP, or Associations of Muslim Professionals, was established in 1991 and registered as a charitable organisation.

AMP logo

By being non-partisan and independent, they work with all parties that shares their mission – which is to bring about a Dynamic Muslim Community in the 21st century.

They’re also act as the custodian of the Singapore Muslim Education Fund (SMEF) to tackle the under-representation of Malay/Muslims in the Law and Medicine fields.

They mainly have 3 SMEF schemes:

  1. For law Malay/Muslim students, you may apply for SMEF-Professor Ahmad Ibrahim Scholarship worth S$3,000
  2. For medicine, it will be SMEF Medicine Scholarship worth S$5,000
  3. And lastly, SMEF-Lieutenant Adnan Award for deserving students who might be facing financial difficulties but show outstanding leadership qualities in a uniformed group CCA (worth S$700)

4. MFTA

MFTA, or also known as Muslimin Trust Fund Association, is the oldest active Muslim charitable organisation in Singapore to date.

It was founded in 1904, when there was no national body to look after the welfare of the poor and underpriviledged Muslims and Muslim orphans in the then-colony of Singapore.

Hence, seven Muslim gentlemen decided to come together, with some notable families such as the Alsagoff and Anguilia, to address that issue.

Alsagoff Arab School was founded in 1912 by the late wealthy Arab businessman Syed Mohamed Ahmed Alsagoff

They offer both bursaries and scholarships, and beneficiaries are predominantly from the lower-income families who are pursuing tertiary education.

In our opinion, they’re more stringent in their selection (awarded to 164 students worth S$189K in 2018, versus LBKM’s $1.9m to 1703 students in 2014) and hence it is understandable that they have to carefully decide the deserving ones for the limited slots.

So, if you do not fall in their criteria of having the Gross Monthly Income of not exceeding S$4,000 and Per Capita Income of not exceeding S$400, our suggestion is to look elsewhere and save that slot for someone who needs it more.

5. Lee Foundation

Though this is the first non-Muslim charitable organisation in this list, we definitely do not want to leave them out because we, at SmartMamat, have personally benefitted from their generosity.

If you have searched long and hard enough, you might be surprised that Lee Foundation do not have a website, but they have been one of the biggest charities for education in Singapore.

Its chairman, Lee Seng Gee, who passed away in 2016, was the eldest son of philanthropist Lee Kong Chian.

His philanthropic efforts earned him the Public Service Star in 1992 and an honorary Doctors of Letters from the National University of Singapore in 2002.

Regardless of race and religion, numerous Malay/Muslim students that we know of have received generous study grants, up to S$15,000, for their tertiary studies. What’s more heartening is that it is bond-free and there is no need for any form of repayments.

To reach out to them, from our experience, you will have to drop them a physical mail directly to their office. Yes – it’s traditional that’s the most authentic way to communicate isn’t it?

Final Note…

Remember, even if you’re not getting a full subsidy for your degree, a partial one still goes a long way (and earlier) to achieve your financial goals.

And if this article benefits you and you do become one of the beneficiaries for any of the above organisations, we’re happy to hear your stories in the comment section below.

Don’t forget to return the favour and continue the generosity for the future generations to come 🙂

One Response

  1. Daniel July 28, 2019

Leave a Reply