Written by Joanna Hughes

A staggering nine out of ten Malaysian students work while they are in school, according to a recent survey by HSBC bank. Here’s a closer look at the findings, how they stack up against the global average, and what they mean, as reported by The Star Online.

Key Findings

In addition to finding that Malaysia’s 90 percent student working rates exceeds the global average of 83 percent, HSBC’s 'The Value of Education -- The Price of Success' report reveals other key findings, including that while Malaysian parents contribute an average of RM24,100 to their kids’ higher education, students estimate they spend a total of RM67,600 on tuition and other college-related expenses, resulting in a shortfall of RM43,500.

And while seven percent of parents turn to grandparents for help, the primary sources of funding used to bridge the gap include friends, bursaries, loans, and their kids’ own income.

Specifically, many students are taking part-time jobs to fund their higher education. The report further suggests that there are upsides and downsides to being a working student: While students who work between 10 and 19 hours a week perform significantly better than their peers, those who worked more than 20 hours saw a negative impact on their grades.

“The Price of Success”

To what can this phenomenon be attributed? HSBC Malaysia head of retail banking and wealth management Tara Latini said, “It’s clear from our research that many parents are committed to funding their child’s university education, but in reality, the costs are often much higher than they’re prepared for.”

The takeaway, according to the report, is that, "Over half of the Malaysian parents with a child at university worry that they don’t have the financial resources to support them, and over two-thirds say they wish they’d calculated a budget for their child’s university education in advance...It’s clear that preparation and having honest conversations as a family are vital to help alleviate financial pressures for both students and parents.”

Learn more about studying in Malaysia.




Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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