School Finance 704: Student Demographics Part Two

Student Demographics Part Two

We hope you enjoyed reading about where SAS students come from in Finance 703 last week. We now continue this discussion by exploring why SAS families are in Singapore, who pays the bills, 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. The most common jobs among SAS parents, as reported to the school this year, remain similar to those reported last year, with three sectors accounting for more than half of parents' primary jobs: finance with 24.5%; manufacturing (semiconductors, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals) with 15.5%; and information, communication, and technology with 10.5%. Another two sectors account for around 7% each: professional services (accounting, consulting, law, relocation, and outsourcing), and oil, gas, and energy. This latter sector has declined as a proportion of SAS parents' jobs since 2014, as has the consumer goods sector, which now employs 6% of SAS parents.

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 0.2% 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), increased to 4.7 years in June 2017. If we turn to the average tenure for current SAS students (assuming they stay through this school year), we see this remains at 3.9 years. This number factors in our youngest students, who lower 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 it increases each year in the lower grades, hitting the overall average around grade 6. Middle and high school students' tenures continue to rise, spiking to 6.4 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

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

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 276, we have 38 students (14%) who started here in either the Early Childhood Center (now ELC) or kindergarten: 11 enrolled in preschool, 5 in pre-kindergarten, and 22 in kindergarten. A further 18 arrived in first grade and 11 in second grade, so about a quarter 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 classmates she 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?

While our students live all over Singapore, the area bounded by the PIE, CTE, AYE, and Clementi Road holds the largest concentration of SAS families. 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 near the American Club. The Woodlands neighborhood is also popular with SAS families, accounting for around 535 students. This number has risen substantially since last year, although at 14% of our students, it is still 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 East Coast Parkway and West Coast Highway areas, and Sentosa.

2017-18 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.