Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has unveiled the NTU COVID-19 Relief Package, which comprises three new coordinated measures to assist students facing hardship due to the pandemic.
The package also helps to support final-year undergraduates graduating during this difficult time, the university said in a press statement. Additional initiatives to enhance the employability of this year’s graduating undergraduates is slated to be unveiled next week.
A new SGD 2 million OneNTU Fund to support students who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents who need immediate financial aid during this difficult time. Eligible students may get an interest-free advance of up to SGD 1,500, which they will reimburse to the university within two years after graduation.
The university will also establish the NTU Priorities Fund, which will be driven by private philanthropy. This first use of this fund will be to offer financial assistance to the neediest NTU students from Singapore and abroad, who are affected by COVID-19 and who have no other recourse for help.
Recipients of support from the Fund will pledge to ‘pay it forward’ within two years after graduation and return the interest-free cash assistance to the University.
NTU President Subra Suresh and his wife, Mary Suresh, have made a personal gift of SGD 100,000 to seed and anchor the establishment of the NTU Priorities Fund. Professor Suresh is a firm believer in paying it forward – with himself being a beneficiary of such a scheme in the past, which enabled him to pursue his postgraduate education in the United States.
"We have students grappling with sudden loss of family income or find that they no longer have part-time jobs and are worried about their daily lives should the situation continue," said Professor Suresh.
“We will use the new NTU Priorities Fund and other sources of philanthropic support to alleviate the financial burden of our students, so that those needing immediate help can continue to focus on their studies and their future.”
NTU is also working to assist final-year PhD and Master’s students who face difficulties completing their research work within this semester due to the disruptions caused by the closure of their labs due to COVID-19. The university will extend their candidature with a full waiver of tuition fees for up to one semester. These include PhD and Master’s students receiving their final year of NTU scholarship, and all other research students in their final year of candidature.
“We will continue to monitor and evaluate these dynamic circumstances and take appropriate measures as the situation evolves. In these unprecedented times, we hope that members of the NTU community will join us in rendering assistance to our students facing financial hardship and to our final-year students graduating during this period of uncertainty,” said Professor Suresh.