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Post-secondary students to get aid from Pocket Money Fund

(MyPaper, Page A4, October 23, 2012)

FROM next year, needy students moving on from secondary schools to post-secondary educational institutions will be able to benefit from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF).

Currently, the fund is restricted to primary- and secondary-school students.

The fund is setting aside up to $1.5 million to provide pocket money for needy students of the Institute of Technical Education, junior colleges and polytechnics. Eligible students in these institutions will receive $120 a month.

This was announced yesterday at the SPMF’s annual briefing to the fund’s disbursing agencies and social workers at the Singapore Press Holdings auditorium.

The fund’s expanded scope will first cover existing and past beneficiaries of SPMF, as well as these students’ siblings who need financial aid when they move on to post-secondary education.

Ms Patricia Wee, 30, the centre head of The Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centres (Ang Mo Kio branch), said the expanded fund is a welcome change.

She said: “With children who are currently with SPMF, the transition to higher-education institutions will be challenging.

“From my observations, children’s expenses increase when they go on to (higher-education institutions),” she said, adding that transport and meal expenses will usually increase.

SPMF was started in October 2000 as a community project by The Straits Times to provide pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school.

With the extension of the fund to post-secondary students, SPMF expects to raise about $8.5 million next year.

Mr Han Fook Kwang, chairman of SPMF, said: “Our studies have shown that the money we provide has helped students focus better in school.

“The less they worry about where the next meal is going to come from, the more they can concentrate on their education.”

Source: MyPaper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

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