A story of identity swaps and tuition fees

Studying abroad is a choice and we must always pay for our choices, right? However, this choice is significantly more expensive than others. Here’s how one bright KCL alumnus played the system.

Vlad* comes from an Eastern European, non-EU country. Originally, he was meant to pay the full tuition fee of an international student, which at that time was around £10.000 (compared to £3.250 for natives and Europeans). That was a tough one for his parents who did not wish to rely on student loans. So they came up with a risky, brilliant plan.

Vlad comes from a family where tradition is everything. It is exactly that sort of family in which girls are given their grandmother’s surnames – and boys their grandfathers’. At first, the Vlad’s mother was against following this particular “rule”: she claimed she preferred her child had a more modern name rather than becoming “Ivan number X”. After weeks of arguments, “duty” won, and Vlad was named after his grandfather. It is important to note that they share the same family name (traditions kick in again).

Due to some national conflicts, Vlad’s grandfather was actually born in the UK. So, when Vlad was filling in his Ucas application Vlad the grandfather was a proud Old Windsor citizen. Although by that time the grandson’s name had been slightly changed (blame it on his “liberal” mother), Vlad changed his name back to the one stated on his birth certificate.

Why? Because having his grandfather’s exact name again, he fill his financial form with his UK address as well. Unsurprisingly, the system thought the two Vlads were the same person. Vlad was charged the deduced fee of  £3.250. Needless to say, he made his mother happy.


*names have been changed as the source wishes to remain anonymous