In the last two decades, educational options for foreign students in Singapore have expanded significantly. SAS, one of Singapore's original, non-profit international schools, continues to enjoy a strong reputation among expatriate families. For 64 years, our success has rested on a solid foundation of financial prudence and responsibility as we ensure that every penny paid in tuition and fees positively impacts student learning.
Our non-profit status ensures that any surplus in a given year is reinvested into the school, rather than going to an owner or investor. SAS is a registered charitable organization governed by an elected, volunteer school board. This is an increasingly rare model for international schools worldwide, and we are very conscious of its benefits. These include community involvement, alignment of school and student interests, focus on a long-term vision, and budgetary and tax advantages.
Academically, our financial resources allow us to ensure that each student feels nurtured, challenged, encouraged, and valued. To attract excellent teachers, we must offer competitive compensation packages, and our largest expense category is always faculty and staff salaries and benefits. As seen below, salaries and benefits costs for SAS employees represent 69 percent of all expenses and allow us to hire highly qualified, experienced, and professional teachers. Read more about our teachers here.
Teachers new to SAS are often amazed by its advanced educational and technological resources, which account for 6.8 percent and 2.5 percent of expenses respectively. In recent years, a major innovation initiative has resulted in significant enhancements to our programs, including a Reggio Emilia-inspired early learning center (ELC) program, a Chinese immersion option in elementary school, flexible-learning environments throughout the school, a redesigned co-curricular program, and learning alternatives like Catalyst, Quest and advanced topic (AT) courses in high school that give students more options for serious academic engagement and for developing 21st century skills.
Our spacious, green campus and cutting-edge facilities set us apart from many of Singapore's international schools. The second-largest expense category, at 19.1 percent, includes facilities costs and day-to-day operating expenses. Keeping track of renewal cycles and planning ahead for construction projects helps us avoid unsettling fluctuations in workload or financing. With our sports fields, pools, playgrounds, theaters, gyms, libraries, rainforest, eco-garden, and low-rise feel, our well-maintained campus enhances learning opportunities and extracurricular pursuits.
We want our fees to remain competitive with those of other international schools, so we benchmark our average cost of attendance against comparable institutions. As you look at the first chart, bear in mind that most of Singapore's international schools charge separately for field trips and overnight trips, even in the lower grades; at SAS, except for the high school’s Interim Semester fees, trip fees are included in tuition.
We are confident that our families and the wider expatriate community in Singapore appreciate the value of an SAS education. This year, the average tenure of all currently enrolled students stands at 4.3 years, our longest in recent history. Of the students who joined us in August, over a third transferred from other schools on the island. And we are proud to say that SAS is one of only two international schools in Singapore with continued full enrollment even as the international school sector has expanded in recent decades. An SAS education is an investment in a child’s future, and parents may be assured that the fees they pay will be used solely to provide the staff, resources, and learning environment integral to an outstanding educational experience.