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Old 01-15-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
mugster
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Default Bond breaking....

Just wondering, are the penalties severe? What kind of damages are we looking at and also, is it true that once you have broken a government scholarship bond you would be black listed from all civil service positions....

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:16 AM   #2
dershing
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Default Bond breaking

Well... i think if you are looking for a scholarship, u must know that you seriously want to work in that profession and in that organization. Otherwise, it is actually not really worth it to take up a scholarship. Having said that, we cannot deny that some situations do change and some people do leave the civil or private service during their bond period. (Interestingly, there is a perception difference btwn someone who serves and then leaves vs someone who leaves while still in school.)

From what I know, the bond penalty is 10% interested for all payments made compounded. That was 8 years ago. If you leave after working for X years, the X years count to be pro-rated. But seriously do not take up a scholarship if you are not keen to at least work and try out. Safe yourself and your parents the pain and hassle.

As for blacklisting, private sector no such thing so long as you left nicely. Ask any more experienced professional working, there is such a thing as leaving nicely and leaving in a way that pisses people off. Most of the time, it is the scholar who does not handle the process properly and then piss people off.

Civil service cannot comment. But we do know they have a very enlightened attitude in that people who complete bond and leave for private sector are always welcomed back. So that tells you something.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:21 PM   #3
kaifishcat
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hello. i studied a science subject (Natural Sciences, Biology) at Cambridge University, UK and a PhD (Infection Biology) at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden under the A*STAR NSS (BSc - PhD) scholarship. in Cambridge there were tuition fees, but in Sweden, during the time i was studying there, there were no tuition fees (so in essence, the A*STAR NSS PhD scholarship was a scam - because i didn't need any tuition fees but i didn't know that when i was young and stupid). A*STAR charges a compounded annual interest rate of 10% on every cent they ever give you. just before i started serving my bond, my Liquidated Damages (LD) was just under $900 000. this is on the low side for NSS BSc-PhD scholars, because A*STAR didn't pay tuition fees for my PhD education, and because i never claimed any extra allowances from A*STAR for flights, book allowances, conferences, thesis printing etc during the final few years of my studies. the scholars who went to expensive schools for their PhD and who asked A*STAR for extra money for various expenses, probably have much higher LD.

(for just the undergrad degree, i have heard rumours that the LD would be around 300-400 thousand. (for science degree overseas.))

the 10% compounded interest (which i believe is similar across all stat boards) is no joke. it is basically punitive. you are not supposed to break bond. if you break bond, you are heavily penalised.

the LD that i would have to pay to quit my job, is enough to buy two HDB flats...

moral of the story: don't get bonded unless you're absolutely sure you'll love your job with the bonding organisation, because you will have to be very very rich, to quit your job.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:32 AM   #4
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honestly, i don't know.

cambridge sent invoices directly to a*star and a*star paid them directly. science degrees (and medical degrees) are expensive because of the lab costs. and for overseas students, it's even more expensive.

i am not sure whether the LD for the undergraduate bond accumulates during our phd studies. (i will ask a*star after i write this reply.) if the LD for the undergrad bond, accumulates at 10% compound annual interest rate while we are doing phd, that's about 5 years of accumulation at this interest rate.

then during the phd, i didn't have any tuition fees, but a*star paid me a very comfortable stipend, for my rent and food. but, halfway through my phd i figured out that the bond value was going to be insanely high, so i requested to have my stipend halved (to minimise my LD), because i didn't need that much money. a*star refused to lower my stipend because they "cannot individually adjust stipends", not even to LOWER them.

i feel bad because i am one of those scholars who regretted taking on the scholarship and i am often guilt-tripped by others who think i have an obligation to serve to the best of my ability, because i have received SO MUCH taxpayers' money. you know what? i already didn't want the taxpayers' money for a long time but could not stop the situation (because i simply didn't have the money to quit the scholarship programme). when i tried to tell a*star to stop giving me so much taxpayers' money, they refused, and kept stuffing my bank account with money against my will. i don't know, it's kind of funny and tragic at the same time.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:18 AM   #5
kaifishcat
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just want to update (from my previous post) that yes, the undergrad LD continues to increase at 10% compound annual interest during the PhD years. LD just keeps increasing at this rate until the scholar is deployed after their PhD.

it's 3 years undergrad overseas + 5 years phd overseas. approx $900 000 LD in my case and i know mine is on the low side (because of reasons i explained in my first post here). so, please DO NOT sign up for NSS BS-PhD scholarship. this will make your job impossible to quit, and you cannot guarantee when you're 18 years old, whether you will still want to work for a*star in 8 or 9 years' time (after you graduate from all your studies.) it's totally not worth the risk.

also, very disturbing that basic info about the LD amount is not given to prospective scholars. if you look at the A*STAR website, it's like they pretend that bondbreaking doesn't exist. not a single sentence there about what happens if you need to terminate your scholarship contract. no estimate of LDs. they just tell you that your bond length is x number of years. everybody is expected to assume you will serve your bond. no need to think about breaking the bond, ever. la la la. just close your eyes and pretend you don't need exit clauses.

and as for how i know how much my LD is, well, i had to beg and beg for the info. when i first asked A*GA (the scholarship board is called A*STAR Graduate Academy) how much my LD was (during my PhD years), they asked me "please may i know the nature of your enquiry." when i said i just want to know because i just want to have information, they said they cannot tell me how much my LD is unless i state that i want to break my bond. i said that i will definitely not be able to break my bond because even without knowing the exact amount i owe, i already know from my life experience (anecdotal accounts from other scholars etc) that i will not be able to afford it. i asked them why they cannot tell me how much my LD is, just for me to have info, but the answer was, "moving forward, we will only tell you if you want to break your bond", which was not an answer at all.
then, after i pestered them some more, they said, ok your LD is estimated to be around 1 million dollars. (this is probably a better estimate for most people on NSS BS-PhD. my PhD was the cheapest (free!) that you could do, so my real LD was lower in the end.)
then, i called one of the guys in senior management and asked why A*STAR cannot just calculate my LD for me, and he said it's too much manpower to go and calculate for me.
so, fine, a few years later, it was actually a good person from another department (Biomedical Research Council) that helped me to get info about my LD. A*GA, the scholarship board, never wanted to tell me.
now, not telling scholars how much LD they owe, and at the same time using the LD to threaten them about stuff (A*GA told me that because i am not interested in science, they have the right to terminate my scholarship and make me pay LD, etc etc), is horrible on A*GA's part.
the nice man from BMRC, who understood that i should have the information about my own LD, is a hero.
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