Harness This Sponsorship Opportunity To Get Ahead In Life

Learn how you can get a boost to your career and life with the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme!

By Aaron Seah        1 March 2023

We’ve all had pondered on these age old questions: “Is choosing to further my studies worthwhile?” or “Can I afford to continue my studies?” This next step in life can truly be a daunting task filled with uncertainties, but it doesn’t have to be.

The SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme enables SAFRA members to enhance their knowledge and skill sets by supporting them in their quest for lifelong learning through collaborations with prestigious educational institutions. Since launching the scheme in 1994, the scholarship programme has helped numerous SAFRA members on their education journey by offering bond-free sponsorships that subsidies up to 80% of full-course fees for diploma, degree and master’s courses.

Educational partners include the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), James Cook University (Singapore), PSB Academy, Kaplan Higher Education Institute and Aventis Graduate School, to name a few. For the full list of institutions, visit safra.sg/promotions/bond-free-education-scheme/sponsorships.

There are two sponsorship application periods a year. Don’t miss the next one, which runs from 1 February to 31 March, 2023. Applicants must have completed full-time National Service and be a valid SAFRA Ordinary A, Ordinary B or Life member. Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) under Ordinary A seeking to apply for study in any of the stated educational institutions will also be considered if they are in their last year of service and/or whose Operationally-ready Date (ORD) fall at least three months before the start date of the applied course.

2022 SAFRA Education Scheme awardees at the awards ceremony

Successful applicants will attend the SAFRA Education Awards Ceremony to commemorate the start of their education sponsorship. We catch up with some of our most recent award recipients to learn how this program has benefited them.

Tan Huiming, 33, Admin Associate

James Cook University, Master of Guidance and Counselling

Share with us your journey and experience when applying for the SAFRA bond-free sponsorship.

I was unsure of my chances at the start, but decided to give the application a try and put my best foot forward. The application process involved a few essays to be written, which needed me to shake off much inertia to start writing. The writing process soon turned into a nice opportunity to take stock of my life, as I reviewed my life choices and accomplishments. This was a well needed process of reflection, and allowed me to share my passion and pursuit of Counselling.

How has SAFRA’s bond-free education sponsorship given an opportunity for you to return to school to re-learn and skill-up?

It has provided me the peace of mind to embark on a Masters course, and given me the encouragement to pursue this path.

How were you able to strike a work-life balance and career switch?

I had to be very disciplined with my time, and in certain situations reduce social gatherings. There are areas, like sports, where I made an effort to dedicate time to which helped me feel better during tougher days.

What advice do you have for SAFRA members who are thinking of furthering their studies?

It is always good to further our studies, to gain new insights and chart a new path if need be. Small steps are good enough, and you’ll find that the big goals aren’t too hard to achieve after all.

Muhammad Nufail Bin Mohd Jamil, 26, Vaccinator and Freelance Caregiver

Singapore University of Social Sciences, BSc Biomedical Engineering with Minor

Share with us your journey and experience when applying for the SAFRA bond-free sponsorship.

The application process was straightforward. I just had to follow the steps given to me. The hardest part about it was doing the write-up. However, I felt like it was a good experience for me to go through as it forces you to do a self-evaluation. From there I was able to see how much I’ve grown and spot where I was lacking so that I can improve myself. The highlight of the whole process was the interview session with the SAFRA volunteers. I had a wonderful time talking to the volunteers and was able to share about myself and hear from the volunteers too. They shared their experiences with me and lessons in life that I found useful. It was a pretty fruitful interview.

What did you think clinched the sponsorship for you?

I think there were various factors that helped me secure the sponsorship. First was my determination in wanting to complete my studies and be financially independent at the same time. The second was my strong passion for wanting to give back to the community and to help those in need in any way I could. These points were constantly reiterated by me throughout the whole process.

How has being an award recipient of the SAFRA Bond-Free Sponsorship made a difference to you and your career prospects?

Being an award recipient definitely boosts my resume as it shows the calibre that I am capable of. It shows my hard work and dedication in everything that I do, which will also translate to any future career prospect. It serves as validation of what I have and can achieve.

What advice do you have for SAFRA members who are thinking of furthering their studies?

Stay true to yourself and have the determination to complete anything you have started. But at the same time, have the courage to know when to stop if things do not work out. And most importantly is to never give up.

Lim Jia Hao, 25, Business Development Associate

Singapore University of Social Sciences, BSc Business

Prior to applying, how did you hear about the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme?

I first knew about the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme on the SUSS website while browsing for resources that could help me out on my education journey. It did not occur to me to apply until I chanced upon a mutual friend doing a part-time degree as well (who was awarded a few intakes back). The conversation with him made me realise that this sponsorship will help exponentially with achieving my goals at this point in life and I should at least give it a go to apply.

How has being an award recipient of the SAFRA Bond-Free Sponsorship made a difference to you and your career prospects?

Firstly, the financial benefit frees up more resources for me to give back to my family, as well as further enrichment in the form of professional courses. Secondly, being an award recipient gives me an assurance that I am doing something right; it is a boost to my confidence knowing that SAFRA believes in me!

Has your experience with the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme made you more conscious to check out other benefits SAFRA has for its members? If so, share with us how!

My experience here has spurred me to discover other great benefits SAFRA may have for its members. I catch myself trying to spot promotions from the many partnering merchants with SAFRA now. For instance, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise when I discovered SAFRA had a member’s discount on the mooncakes I was planning to purchase for Mid-Autumn Festival. I will be on the lookout for more good deals and benefits!

What are some of the other benefits that you have enjoyed as a SAFRA member?

I love visiting the SAFRA clubs with my friends ever since I signed up for the SAFRA membership in National Service. My buddies and I love playing billiards and would visit SAFRA Yishun for a game every time we had a night out. These days, we patronise Lagoon Billiard Room at SAFRA Toa Payoh more because it is closer and their longer operating hours meant it was always a good time there.

Discover more stories from other beneficiaries of the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme.

Find out how you too can benefit from the SAFRA Bond-Free Education Scheme. Apply here.