In the UK, there are two tiers of fees: UK/EU and International. The EU has worked really, really hard to make it so you don't need a visa to live and travel within the EU and you get equal treatment in regards to fees for universities. It's a great, amazing, concept for my friend who is Greek and gets the same fee for Aberystwyth as his friend who is from Leeds. It's not such a great concept for me, an American. I am International according to Aber.
The difference in price is one I can swallow, albeit a little painfully: 6,250 pounds or about $10,000. If there was absolutely nothing I could do about this, I would say "Fine, okay. I knew this coming in." But there is something I can do.
I qualify for dual citizenship with Germany through an odd clause in their citizenship laws provided my Mom got her citizenship as well. I've seriously considered doing this many, many a time, for the fact I could save $10,000. So why don't I?
There's a little thing called "divided loyalties" in the US Government. It's a huge thing in getting security clearance for government jobs. Heck, even for internships. When I interned (no pay) at the Smithsonian, I had to go through a background check. They are looking for risk and your loyalty to the United States. Fair enough. But if they question my loyalty because of a foreign exchange student living in our house when I was thirteen, what would they say to my voluntarily taking on German citizenship (even if the US doesn't recognize it)?
I don't know if I'll end up in the US Government but I know I don't want to rule it out. And so, I shall cough up the extra $10,000. Such is the problem of being International and not EU, or more specifically, being American.
Economically, the UK still makes the most sense for me. I hate that economics have to be such a big factor in my decision - they certainly weren't in my undergrad decision - but they will. So any money I can save, I'll try.
In other news, writing my senior thesis (diss), quoting Doctor Who in it, and waiting for the inevitable rejections to a few more schools.