Finance at SAS 804: Student Demographics Part Two

We hope you enjoyed reading about where SAS students come from in last week's finance article, which was the first of a two-part series. This week we further explore our community's demographics by looking at what brings SAS families to Singapore, who pays the bills, how long students stay at SAS, and where our families live.

What brings SAS families to Singapore?

Most of our families are in Singapore because of a parent's job. The three most common employment sectors reported by SAS parents are finance with 24.6% of parents' primary jobs; manufacturing (semiconductors, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals) with 14.5%; and information, communication, and technology with 10.5%. Sectors accounting for around 6% of SAS parents' jobs include professional services (accounting, consulting, law, relocation, and outsourcing); SAS itself; government (including the US embassy and navy); oil, gas, and energy; and consumer goods.

Other sectors employing smaller numbers of SAS parents include higher education, trade, shipping and logistics, property and architecture, healthcare, hotels and entertainment, religious or charity non-profits, food and beverage, and mining. Nearly 6% of SAS parents provided no data on employment this year, while 0.1% reported themselves self-employed. As the chart below shows, the percentage of SAS parents working in finance has increased steadily in recent years, while percentages of those working manufacturing and in the oil, gas and energy sector have declined. Other sectors have remained fairly constant.

Who pays the fees for SAS students?

Over the last five years, the percentage of students whose school fees are paid directly by their parents' companies has decreased as multinational companies have moved away from making direct school payments part of expatriate pay packages. While five years ago over half of our students were directly sponsored by parents' companies, now only 33% of our students are. Based on our spring 2018 parent survey, 13% of our students' parents report that their companies fully or partially cover their school fees through their pay packages or by reimbursement, bringing the total of de facto company-sponsored students to 46%. The remaining 54% of students' tuitions are paid solely by their parents, with no direct or indirect company sponsorship.

How long do students stay at SAS?

We are pleased to see that our students' average tenure at SAS has lengthened. The average tenure of all current SAS students has increased from 3.9 years to 4.2 years. This number assumes that current students will stay through this school year and includes our youngest students, who can only have been enrolled as long as there have been grades to serve them (a preschool student, for example, can only have been here one year). We see an even larger increase in the average tenure of students who left SAS in June, including our graduating seniors. This number jumped a full year to 5.7 years in June 2018. Both numbers are the highest we have seen in recent years.

Average years of enrollment

Looking at current students' tenure by grade level, it is not surprising that it increases each year in the lower grades, hitting the overall average at grades 5 and 6. Middle and high school students' tenures continue to increase, most obviously in grades 11 and 12. This indicates that many families make special efforts to keep their children at SAS through the socially and academically critical years before graduation. Currently, 8% of our total enrollment has attended SAS for ten or more years.

How many students who started at SAS with my child will graduate with him?

Children who enter SAS in the younger grades will see many friends move away over the years, but some will remain right through to graduation day. This year, out of our senior class of 292, we have 45 students (15%) who started here in either the Early Childhood Center (now ELC) or kindergarten: 9 enrolled in preschool, 10 in pre-kindergarten, and 26 in kindergarten. A further 20 arrived in first or second grade and 39 joined in grades three through five. Altogether, over a third of our seniors started at SAS during their elementary school years.

Of course, the later students enter SAS, the more classmates they will have who have been here the same amount of time or longer. And there is a positive aspect to our student body's fluidity: many SAS students find that they become skilled at making new friends and more open, flexible and resilient as they go through life.

Where do SAS students live?

The largest concentration of SAS families is found in the area bounded by the PIE, CTE, AYE, and Clementi Road. This part of the island includes neighborhoods near roads such as Bukit Timah, Dunearn, Newton, Stevens, Orchard, Tanglin, Grange, Holland, and River Valley, as well as those near the American Club. The Woodlands neighborhood is also popular with SAS families, accounting for around 560 students, or 14% of our students. Other areas with notable concentrations of SAS families include Sembawang, Upper Bukit Timah, Yio Chu Kang, Ang Mo Kio, the East Coast Parkway and West Coast Highway areas, and Sentosa.

2018–19 distribution of SAS families in Singapore

Each dot indicates a house, condo, or apartment building housing at least one SAS student

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about this year's SAS community. As always, we welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles. Please send them to Chief Operating Officer Matthew Rogers, at We look forward to hearing from you.