School Finance 605

Student Demographics, Part 2

Several weeks ago, we shared demographic information about where SAS students come from (read Finance 603 here). We now move on to information about why SAS families are in Singapore, how long students stay at SAS, and where our families live.

What brings SAS families to Singapore?

Most SAS students are here because of a parent's job. This year, 50% of SAS parents' jobs are in one of three sectors: 25% in finance, 15% in manufacturing (semiconductors, electronics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals), and 10% in information, communication, and technology. Another three sectors account for around 7% each: oil, gas, and energy; consumer goods; and professional services (accounting, consulting, law, relocation, and outsourcing). Compared to last year, slightly more parents now work in finance, while 2% fewer work in manufacturing. The other sectors, including oil, gas, and energy, have remained constant since last year.

Other sectors employing over 3% of SAS parents include SAS itself, government (including the U.S. embassy and navy), and higher education. Smaller numbers work in trade, shipping and logistics, hotels and entertainment, nonprofits, healthcare, property and architecture, food and beverage, and mining. Around 5% of SAS parents provided no data on employment, while 0.1% reported themselves self-employed.

How long do students stay at SAS?

The total time the average student spends at SAS, meaning the tenure of students who are leaving (including graduating seniors), was 4.5 years in June 2016. If we turn to the average tenure for current SAS students (assuming they stay through the current school year), we see this remains at 3.9 years. This number factors in our youngest students, who "bring down" the average because, of course, they can only have been enrolled at the school as long as there have been grades to serve them; a preschool student, for example, can only have been here one year.

Average years of enrollment

Looking at current students' tenure by grade level, it is not surprising that tenure increases each year in the lower grades, hitting the overall average at grade 6. Middle and high school students' tenures continue to rise, spiking to 6.5 years in grade 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, 7% of our total enrollment has attended SAS for ten or more years.

Average years of enrollment by grade

One interesting subset of SAS students that stays significantly longer than average is our group of Student Pass (SP) holders. These children, who make up 11% of SAS students, hold SPs instead of dependent passes, for three main reasons: they have come to Singapore primarily to go to SAS; they are staying here to continue at SAS after a parent's job has moved on; or they are the children of Permanent Residents who do not themselves have PR status. Many students on SPs live here with one parent, or with a guardian. Current SP students' average tenure at SAS stands at 6 years, compared with 3.9 years for all students, indicating that this group is particularly committed to remaining at SAS.

Student pass holders, 2016-17

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 of their friends move away as they get older, but a few friends will remain right through to graduation day. This year, out of our senior class of 285, we have 23 students (8%) who started here in either the Early Childhood Center or kindergarten: three who enrolled in preschool, seven in pre-kindergarten, and 12 in kindergarten. A further 15 arrived in first grade and 24 in second grade, so over one-fifth of this year's graduates will have been at SAS for ten years or more.

Of course, the later a student enters SAS, the more friends he 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?

Our students live all over Singapore, with the largest concentration of SAS families in the area bounded by the PIE, CTE, AYE, and Clementi Road. This area includes neighborhoods near roads such as Bukit Timah, Dunearn, Newton, Stevens, Orchard, Tanglin, Grange, Holland, and River Valley, as well as the areas surrounding the American Club. The Woodlands neighborhood is also popular with SAS families, accounting for around 450 students. This number has declined since last year, and at 11% of students is lower than most people assume. Other areas with notable concentrations of SAS families include Sembawang, Upper Bukit Timah, Yio Chu Kang, Ang Mo Kio, the ECP and West Coast Highway areas, and Sentosa.

2016-17 distribution of SAS families in Singapore

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

We hope that this article helps you more fully understand this year's SAS community. As always, we welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles. Please send them to William Scarborough, Chief Financial Officer, at We look forward to hearing from you.