School Finance 703: Student Demographics Part One

School Finance 703

Student Demographics Part One

SAS parents are often amazed at the diversity of their children's classmates. This year, our community includes students from over sixty different nations. In Part 1 of our annual student demographics article, we explore the 2017–18 particulars of our always-evolving SAS community.

How "American" is Singapore American School?

Our school's history and policies reinforce our commitment to maintaining a diverse student population with a strong American element. The relevant board policy states as a goal "a student body comprising American and non-American students so as to provide strong American character as well as international diversity." SAS remains the school of choice for Americans living in Singapore, with 53% of current students holding US passports. Our 2,083 American students come from all over the United States, with the highest numbers hailing from Virginia, California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois.

We note that the percentage of SAS students with US passports has fluctuated throughout the school's history, and in recent years has declined from a high of 70% in 2012. Current economic trends are likely affecting the relative numbers of Americans and other foreigners in Singapore and at SAS. At the same time, educational options for American families have increased in the last decade as new international schools have opened and alternative curricula have become more acceptable to US colleges.


2017-18 SAS enrollment by nationality (as of 22 August 2017)

Details on 2nd Passport Holders (% of all students)



Looking more closely at our numbers, we see that within our American population there is significant diversity, with around one-fifth of these students also holding a second passport. Including these passports in our list of countries puts the number of separate passports our students hold at 63, which is a record high for SAS! Even citizenship statistics do not entirely capture our students' diversity because many of our American students have mainly lived outside the US, and some have at least one parent with a different citizenship.

Shifts in non-American student numbers

We carefully analyze changes in the student body to better understand and serve our community. While the top ten nationalities at SAS have remained the same since 2013, their order has shifted as our Indian and Chinese students' numbers have risen rapidly and other groups have altered less dramatically:

  • This is the third year that our Indian students have been our second largest national group. Their numbers more than doubled in the last five years, and they now make up 11% (or 412) of our students.
  • Our Singaporean student numbers have increased by 61% since 2012; they now comprise 8% of enrollment. With 323 students, our host country remains in third place, as it has for the last five years.
  • Our Korean student numbers remain quite stable, and with 6% of our student body, Korea remains in fourth place for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Our Chinese student numbers continue a rapid five-year rise. Now accounting for 5% of our students, China remains in fifth place on our passport list. Although counted separately, our numbers of Hong Kong SAR passport-holders have also increased rapidly, and they now stand eleventh on our table.
  • In sixth place, our Japanese students' numbers remain constant from last year after rising steadily for several years.
  • Student numbers from Canada and the Philippines continue a three-year modest decline, with these countries now in seventh and tenth places respectively.
  • Despite a slight dip last year, British student numbers have been quite stable in recent years, and the UK stands eighth on the table.
  • Australia ends a four-year increase with slightly fewer students this year and now places ninth on our table.
  • Although not shown on our charts, if we add up our numbers from European Union countries, we have a total of 158 students. This number has increased by 22% over the last five years. If we counted the EU as one country, it would place sixth in our passport table.

History of student enrollment, top ten nationalities

The "other" 8% of our students hold primary passports from 45 countries, with our total number of home countries, including second passports, rising to 63 this year. Although we no longer have students from Slovakia and Kuwait, we now have students representing Ukraine, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Current SAS students' passports, in descending order



How long do students from different countries stay at SAS?

This year the average tenure of all currently enrolled students remains 3.9 years. Our American students' average tenure is also 3.9 years; within this group, US diplomatic and naval families generally have tenures below this average, while American children of SAS teachers stay longer than average. Of our other top-ten groups, children from the Philippines and Canada average the longest stays, at 7.3 and 5.1 years, respectively. Students from Singapore, the UK and Korea stay 4 to 5 years, while our Japanese and Australian students stay 3 to 4 years. Reflecting their increasing numbers, our Indian and Chinese students have the shortest average tenures of our major groups at 3.1 and 2.6 years, respectively.

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about this year's SAS community. Further details about our students and families will be explored in Student Demographics Part 2. As always, we welcome comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles, to mrogers@sas.edu.sg. We look forward to hearing from you.