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The Citizenship Issue



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.


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You really should as you can a) work in Europe, get much better benefits and heck it is the 21 st century Germany is a friend with US military bases on it. Know p,enty of double citizenship Mericans whowork for the government!

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@MPPgal - Yeah, I do too! It's just a matter of the economy and getting my foot in the door. 


@Seeking - I don't know what you mean by this. I don't like the term "Third World" because it places a ranking on nations based on their economic status. I don't even like the UN-approved term "Lesser Developed Countries." The UK has a new policy about Syrian immigrants and I believe they're working to get their universities diverse. I know there's a scholarship I wanted to apply for for my master's that was specifically targeting ethnic minorities in my field. But yes, I agree, no nation is as far as they could be to those seeking higher education from the LDCs.

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All I meant was that if you are finding it expensive, think of those who come from the poorer countries and want to study in the UK. It's next to impossible for them to pay this kind of tuition and living expenses.


I didn't mean it as a criticism of you - please don't take it that way. 

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This isn't an issue that is only limited to the UK/EU. Non-Canadians pay extra tuition at Canadian schools. Non-Americans pay extra tuition at American schools. Even if the tuition is part of the financial package (assuming there is one), the extra costs mean tougher admissions! But I remember not applying to UK schools (even though some things, like getting work visas would be easier as Canada is a Commonwealth country) because there are very limited funding opportunities for non-UK/EU students. Again, this is an issue in Canada and the US too (both countries' major science agency -- NSERC and NSF -- only fund their own citizens!).


Most of the programs I looked at in the UK that didn't provide full funding by the department said that they would only otherwise accept students who win one of the few university-wide competitions for non-UK/non-EU funding. Many of them won't accept you even if you wanted to cough up the extra fees either! So it's extra difficult for international students to get into UK schools, I think!


Also, according to my friend from the UK, who did his PhD in Canada, he said that even if he went back home and went to school there, he would have to pay the extra fees. Apparently, you have to physically reside in the UK/EU for the past 3 years in order to qualify for "domestic" fees. I'm not sure if that was just a particular school or some other aspect of the situation special to him, but if you reconsider getting German citizenship, I think it's worth checking.


But all these extra fees, hassles, etc. are common problems/hurdles for International students all around the world! I understand why this exist -- after all domestic tuition rates are heavily subsidized by local taxpayers. In academia/research, it's such an International community that sometimes it's easy to forget that borders exist in the "real world" :( Personally, I hope North America will go the way of the EU and have a "North American" tuition rate but that's probably a really long shot!

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Well, in the US it's possible for most Graduate students to get funding. I would say amongst all the Western countries, the US gives the fairest deal to its International students.


Australia too has a number of fellowships for the International students.


Of course, these are attempts to identify the talented pool from outside the US and Australia and to try to retain them in their countries after they get trained, so that their skills may be used for the advantage of the US/Australia. This is profitable for the US and to Australia in the long run, so it's only fair that the talented international candidates get a fair deal in Graduate admissions in these 2 countries.


But Canada didn't have any funding for the International candidates till recently and only now they have begun giving funding to the best International candidates - despite the fact that Canada has a huge need for foreign skills.


EU countries such as Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden etc also have funding programs for their International candidates and these candidates later contribute to these countries.


UK is the only country that has had almost no funding for the International candidates outside Europe and the huge gap between the domestic tuition and the non-European tuition is really unfair.


I have lived in the UK and I know that otherwise it is a very diverse country and London is a truly Cosmopolitan city. I simply love London. Some of my best friends are British, who have stood by me in thick and thin. But their Graduate admission policies are pathetic. 


I wish they would begin TA/RA system as in the US. This will open some means of funding for the International candidates and the PhD students will also get some teaching and/or research experience.

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I think you should go for the dual citizenship.  It would open up a whole continent of job opportunities for you -- while only maybe ruling out one employer (the US government).  Since you are getting your grad degree in the UK, the ability to work in Europe could be valuable.  And it would save you $10,000 along the way.  

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You really should as you can a) work in Europe, get much better benefits and heck it is the 21 st century Germany is a friend with US military bases on it. Know p,enty of double citizenship Mericans whowork for the government!

Uhm, this might be true for some low-clearance jobs but for many government jobs the dual-citizenship can really be a problem.

I actually have German and American citizenship (I did not decide on that but I decided not to get rid of one when I turned 18). It really depends on what you want to do. If you just feel like your shutting down one unlikely alternative, I would seriously consider simply dismissing these opportunities and focus on the multitude of new opportunities the EU-citizenship would open up for you.

However, if you really have some jobs in mind you're aiming for, I am fairly convinced that applying for citizenship might ruin your chances for these. Not much else you can do :)

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It's basically down to one thing, and one thing only. The UK has no money. UK Universities have less than no money. Being a domestic student and trying to get funding for a PhD in Humanities is difficult enough. It is a fault in our higher education funding system, the idiocy of New Labour who thought it was a great idea to get as many people into higher education as humanly possible (ticking timebomb that's beginning to explode) and the fact that we just have too many Universities trying to offer too many courses.


The reason there's so little TA opportunities is again down to money. My school will barely pay for its Associate Tutors and Student Demonstrators because it's effectively in debt (depsite being one of the better UK Universities.) On the flip side, I look out the window and see new buildings for the sciences going up everyday. Why? Because science is hoarding all the government funding, because the Conservatives decided that it was far more worthy (despite the fact that most of the cabinet have Humanities degrees.)


Please don't feel as though this is a slight on your international status. Domestic students in the Humanities have increasing financial troubles. It's not all doom and gloom but I think you have to realise how little money there is around, rather than it being a case of wanting to 'keep' it for domestic/EU students.

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Make sure you aren't required to register for military service first!

I have a few friends with dual citizenship in other countries and they were required to register. Many countries require this of women too.

 Would not be fun to get drafted into war, if something should happen.  

10,000 isn't that bad really.  It's similar to the difference in a lot of schools between in-state and out of state tuition.  

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A tricky situation!  My dad is a naturalized American citizen (born and raised in Norway), and you should have seen all the stuff he (and my family and I) went through when he started working for the US government.  I can definitely understand your not wanting to go through any more of that vetting process than you have to. :P


A shame that economics has to play such a big role in our decision-making processes, but *alas* 'tis part and parcel of grad student life! :)

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Unfortunately, as someone else mentioned, you will (almost certainly) need to actually reside within the EU for two years as a citizen before you qualify for EU tuition rates.


I have dual-citizenship and was really interested in studying overseas at low cost, but all of the programs told me I only qualified for international rates :(

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in re above,


it's not so much an issue of residence as it is an issue of taxes. for instance, if you reside in the EU as a diplomat, you likely won't get EU fees unless your dad knows people. however, if you are an EU diplomat residing in Mexico for like 10 years, you will get EU fees because you pay your taxes to your country of citizenship.


but yeah, foreign students are one of the main ways that universities make money. that's why they love singaporean medicine applicants so much.

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