For 21-year-old Tan Kai Qi, it was a moment that made her view life in a different light. The Singaporean Civil Engineering student had just been awarded the Phan Kah Foh Bursary and remembers being really surprised that complete strangers would come to one’s aid. She says, “I knew that one helped family members but to help a complete stranger with such generosity, it blew me away and it totally changed the way I perceived life. I would like to do the same for someone else one day.”
Now a Third Year student at the Faculty of Engineering, Kai Qi, the daughter of a personal driver and an ailing stay-at-home mother, has received the Phan Kah Foh Bursary for the second time since her ‘a-ha’ (or light bulb) moment last year. This year, she is one of 1,800 students who have been awarded bursaries through the University’s Office of Financial Aid. Out of these students, 1,480 received the NUS Bursary, which is partially supported by the Annual Giving programme, while 320 received Named Bursaries, as Kai Qi did.
The Annual Giving programme is funded by gifts from alumni, staff, faculty and friends of the University. A Named Bursary, like the Phan Kah Foh Bursary, creates a legacy in education and philanthropy in honour of a family member, friend or organisation. The Phan family set up the bursary in memory of their late father, an NUS Faculty of Engineering alumnus. Thanks largely to such gifts, NUS is able to follow a needs-blind, merit-based admission policy, where no student is turned away because of financial constraints.
Kasthuri d/o Mahanthran, a Singaporean Fourth-Year student at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has received the NUS Bursary for the fourth time. The eldest of three sisters, she is relieved not to have to look to her mother, a single parent, for money. “Without the bursary, it would be very difficult as it helps to pay for my books, daily expenses and transport.” Kasthuri is heading to the National Institute of Education next year to train as a teacher. She says, ”I will tell my students who are facing financial hardship not to despair as there is help out there. I would like to raise awareness about financial aid and also look out for signs of financial constraints among my students. I know what that’s like as I’ve experienced it myself.”
Meanwhile, Kai Qi is hoping to work with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) or the Housing & Development Board (HDB) and make a contribution to the infrastructure of the city.
These young adults are fast approaching their professional life, but for now, both Kai Qi and Kasthuri are relieved not to be a burden on their parents and to be able to focus on their studies without the pressures of part-time work, all thanks to the kindness of strangers. To discuss setting up a Named Bursary, contact Ms Ho Yuen Kwan at 6516-5755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the Annual Giving campaign.