Funding for US students in the UK

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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:16 am

Funding for US students in the UK

Postby theoretical_phys » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:59 am

So, I'm one of those students who had the brilliant idea of applying to overseas universities (all in England) because I wanted to experience something a little different while obtaining my PhD. (My significant other is also living in London, so this also swayed my decision.) I'm running into a bit of a problem: I'm being accepted into universities (UCL, King's College London, University of Sussex), but they either a) have no funding whatsoever for international students (when their websites said they did) or b) the funding is so competitive that it is nearly impossible to snag! With international tuition/fees, the thought of paying four years for graduate school with loans is absolutely agonizing and literally impossible (something like $36,000 per year!). So, I'm faced with the following decision: Enroll in the PhD program at one of the universities for a year using loans and try again to hopefully get funding the next year OR enroll in a masters program (they only take one year to complete in England) and try for PhD program and funding next year. My whole thought process with the latter decision is that...even if I don't get funding the next year, at least I will have a masters degree!

The professors at the UK universities literally have no suggestions for me. Even though they say they want to work with me, they don't want me to take obscene amounts of money out in loans.

Also, does anyone know of any foundations where I could write a grant proposal for scholarships/fellowships/funding? It seems like most of the fellowship programs only allow students who enroll in US graduate programs or their deadlines have already passed.

Oh dear, thank you for your help. I'm starting to become severely stressed about all of this.


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Re: Funding for US students in the UK

Postby nathan12343 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:13 am

One option is the NSF fellowship (did you apply last fall?). They let you study outside the US as long as you're a citizen.

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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:16 am

Re: Funding for US students in the UK

Postby theoretical_phys » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:22 am

I'm planning to apply for the NSF fellowship this coming fall. I was under the impression that I couldn't study outside of the US, so I made the mistake of not applying. Thank you for your suggestion, though. :)

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Re: Funding for US students in the UK

Postby Ben5504 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:02 am

The NSF does follow you overseas - the only difference in that case is the tuition allotment is limited to $10,000/yr. In the US, schools generally cover tuition expenses above this themselves.

Another good program to look into is the Marshall Scholarship. It's specifically in place for US students wanting to study in the UK (and vice-versa). Scholarships generally last for two years, though third-year extensions are possible.

Have you looked into funding from the Research Councils? In general, they only fund students from the UK or the EU, but if you have close relatives from Europe, you may qualify. Additionally, there is a council for overseas students (i.e. non-European), to study in the UK - The method for applying for an Overseas Research Award varies from school to school, so you should look into how your school takes applications. At Cambridge they've stopped accepting applications for these awards; I don't know if it's just a university policy or if the program has been put on hold because of recession issues, but it's probably still worth some research.

And finally, I'd suggest once you've decided on a school and program, talking to your department/research group/supervisor directly. Once I'd committed to Cambridge, I told my research group that I was definitely showing up, whether I had funding from the University or taking it all on a loan. When they heard that, they offered to cover ~1/3 of my tuition and fees for the duration of my PhD. It's very unusual to be fully funded from just one place, so do whatever you can to piece it all together.

Good luck!

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