Guide for Choosing a Private Education Institution (PEI) in Singapore
Your education is the key to your future. As such, it is important for you to invest time and effort to make sure that you end up with a good quality education that will help you advance in your career.
Before signing up with a PEI, you should find out more about its track record, reputation, and the courses it offers. Where possible, you should visit the school’s premises and observe the study environment prior to making your decision.
Make Sure the PEI is Registered with the CPE
All PEIs must be registered with the CPE in order to operate in Singapore. To be registered, the PEI must meet the basic requirements in corporate governance, quality of provision, and information transparency.
Selecting a Course at a PEI
Here are some questions to help you determine whether a PEI and the courses it offers are reliable, especially those that are offered online:
- Can the diploma or degree from the PEI be purchased or ordered? If so, beware as it might be a degree mill.
- Does the PEI claim accreditation when there is no evidence of this status?
- What are the required hours of attendance?
- Are there any academic assessments? How easy is it for students to earn credits?
- Is the duration required to obtain a diploma or a degree much shorter than the generally accepted standards in most public or accredited institutions?
- Can the diplomas or degrees be obtained solely on experience or resume review?
- Is the registered office of the PEI identified only though a telephone number, an email address or a mail box address?
- Does the PEI assert or highlight that accreditation is not needed when it is from a country where recognised or reputable institutions are accredited?
Fee Protection Scheme
The Fee Protection Scheme protects the fees students have paid to PEIs.
PEIs must subscribe to an insurance scheme approved by the CPE if the PEI wishes to collect more than two months of course fees at any one time. There are two types of insurance schemes: industry-wide coverage (IWC) and the Fee Protection Scheme (FPS). For a new PEI undergoing ERF registration, an IWC must be purchased if the PEI wishes to collect more than two months course fee at any one time. If not, a letter of undertaking must be submitted to declare that the PEI will not be collecting more than two month’s course fee.
If a registered PEI wishes to apply for EduTrust certification, they may then replace their IWC with FPS.
All PEIs and their students must sign a contract for any course longer than two months in duration, regardless of whether the course is full-time or part-time. Before signing the contract, you should read through the Advisory Note to Students and ensure that the following information has been included in the student contract, and is accurate:
- Duration of the course, and whether it is offered on a full- or part-time basis;
- Commencement date and end date of the course;
- Scheduled holidays, if any;
- Dates of all examinations, major assessments and assignments;
- Expected release date of the final examination results, which should not be more than three months after the examination was completed unless otherwise permitted by the CPE;
- Expected date of conferment of the award;
- Full names of the developer or proprietor of the course, and the person/organisation/institution conferring the award;
- Components of all fees payable by the student;
- Fee collection schedule, including any late fee payment policy; and
- PEI’s fee refund policy.
PEIs are not allowed to include clauses in the student contract which would allow them to make unilateral changes to the terms and conditions, or enable them to collect unconsumed course fees from students who have withdrawn from the course for the semesters or modules of the course which have not yet commenced.
Responsibility of Students
Students are encouraged to exercise caution when selecting a PEI and course to enrol in, and to make the effort to understand your rights and obligations before entering into an agreement which will be legally binding.
Students may notify the CPE at CPE_CONTACT@cpe.gov.sg or write to:
CPE Student Services Centre
1 Marina Boulevard
#18-01 One Marina Boulevard
Tel: (65) 6512 1140
If they have any information about any unauthorised PEIs operating, or representing itself as being from Singapore.