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Education

Russia Backs Sending Top Students Abroad With a Catch 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-russia-with-lunch-money dept.
First time accepted submitter Clark Schultz writes "Vladimir Putin plans to send the country's top domestic students abroad in an effort to prepare engineers, doctors, and scientists with the most modern education. The initiative comes with a catch: Students must return to Mother Russia to work. Though critics say that the students may be tempted to stay abroad after receiving their advanced degrees, Putin is confident they will be properly motivated to keep up their end of the bargain. As one advocate notes, the 'brilliant' practice of educating Russians at top global universities dates back to the times of Peter the Great."
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Russia Backs Sending Top Students Abroad With a Catch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:28PM (#45980865)

    Just don't come back gay.

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Just don't come back gay.

      Or they can go to the Russian embassy, tell them that they're now gay, and ask if Mother Russia still wants them

  • Seems reasonable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirix (1649853) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:29PM (#45980877)

    If they don't want to go back to Russia, they don't have to accept the grants.

    I'm not really seeing a problem here?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:51PM (#45981039)

      Surely since it is Putin: if they don't want to come back it is fine as long as they don't mind their tea tasting of Polonium.

    • by icebike (68054) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:52PM (#45981051)

      Actually, they have apparently been accepting grants all along, for many years, but never coming back.

      The new decree (Do they not pass laws over there?) simply says:

      Students who earned bachelor's degrees in Russian universities may enter leading [foreign] universities... and be eligible for financial support from the government.
      If these students would like to stay overseas after graduation, they would have to pay a hefty amount to Russia that would include all the money spent on the education plus a fine twice as large as this amount.

      Good luck collecting, unless they want to hire a boat load of lawyers in each country students go to. (If they thought US tuition was high, wait till they see US lawyer bills). Maybe they will get the parents to co-sign these grants so they can at least threaten to put the parents in the hot seat if young Doctor Ivan doesn't come back.

      With US student loans defaulting at a rate of 10% [ed.gov] they are just as likely to learn bad habits here.

      On the other hand if you can legally wipe out all or most of your student loans by getting a good paying job in Russia (by virtue of your prestigious foreign doctorate), it just might work.
      It all depends on the job and pay opportunities at home, and how much of the government loans will be forgiven. It might be pretty hard to pay back a western sized debt on a Russian sized salary unless most or all of it were forgiven by the Russian Government.

       

      • Re:Seems reasonable (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:14PM (#45981201)

        Actually, they have apparently been accepting grants all along, for many years, but never coming back.

        The new decree (Do they not pass laws over there?) simply says:

        Students who earned bachelor's degrees in Russian universities may enter leading [foreign] universities... and be eligible for financial support from the government.
        If these students would like to stay overseas after graduation, they would have to pay a hefty amount to Russia that would include all the money spent on the education plus a fine twice as large as this amount.

        Good luck collecting, unless they want to hire a boat load of lawyers in each country students go to. (If they thought US tuition was high, wait till they see US lawyer bills). Maybe they will get the parents to co-sign these grants so they can at least threaten to put the parents in the hot seat if young Doctor Ivan doesn't come back.

        With US student loans defaulting at a rate of 10% [ed.gov] they are just as likely to learn bad habits here.

        On the other hand if you can legally wipe out all or most of your student loans by getting a good paying job in Russia (by virtue of your prestigious foreign doctorate), it just might work.
        It all depends on the job and pay opportunities at home, and how much of the government loans will be forgiven. It might be pretty hard to pay back a western sized debt on a Russian sized salary unless most or all of it were forgiven by the Russian Government.

        France for instance not only subsidizes students that enter the top univerisities (ecole polytechnique and ecole normale superieur among others) but it also pays the students a stipend. The catch is that once you graduate you owe the French state 10 years of your life. After that you can enter if you want the private sector, but the first ten years must be given back to the public sector. Else you must reimburse the money the French state invested in your education. And you can bet your ass they do come after you if you don't uphold your end of the bargain.
        Russia is doing nothing alien. They pay for their student's education, even paying their stay abroad. It is only natural those students give back to the Russian state some years of their lives.
        Only in the US (temple of individuality) does the state subsidize your studies (if you're fortunate enough) but then you are not compelled to give back. Individuality taken to the extreme, and then we ask ourselves why all the worlds big problems stem from that country.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Only in the US (temple of individuality) does the state subsidize your studies (if you're fortunate enough) but then you are not compelled to give back. Individuality taken to the extreme, and then we ask ourselves why all the worlds big problems stem from that country.

          The US actually has several such programs, like the ROTC, GI Bill, or the various doctors and nurses programs for Western states.

        • by JanneM (7445)

          Only in the US (temple of individuality) does the state subsidize your studies (if you're fortunate enough) but then you are not compelled to give back. Individuality taken to the extreme, and then we ask ourselves why all the worlds big problems stem from that country.

          Sweden doesn't require it either. University is effectively free, and you get a part-stipend, part-loan for your living expenses. If you go abroad to study the stipend and loan will follow. You do need to pay back the loan (in proportion to y

        • by celle (906675)

          "Only in the US (temple of individuality) does the state subsidize your studies (if you're fortunate enough) but then you are not compelled to give back. Individuality taken to the extreme, and then we ask ourselves why all the worlds big problems stem from that country."

              We certainly do give back via taxation. There's a saying in this country "The only thing you can count on is death and taxes."

        • In the case of the US, a legal mechanism already exists to force foreign students to return to their countries. If a student studies in the US on a J1 visa, he/she cannot get another visa from certain categories (like J1 and H1B) or a green card for 2 years after the J1 expires. There's a way to get an exemption from this, but it requires that the student's own government signs off on it.
        • Ecole d'ingénieur are not universities. They often have a "higher quality education", whatever that means, but they are not the same as universities, either in France or what you usually get in Anglo-Saxon countries (though maybe historically something like MIT?). France has a lot of throw-backs from yesteryear and this is one of them - it's prestigious so the rules are complicated! While there may be some exceptions, my understanding is also that you can't do a doctorate in one... Though of course it'
        • by doru (541245)
          > once you graduate you owe the French state 10 years of your life The ten years include the duration of the studies (four years, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure). For those who go on to do a PhD, this removes another three years from the ten.
      • Re:Seems reasonable (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:19PM (#45981257)

        They could probably just levy the fines as a tax, and have them extradited for tax evasion through existing tax treaties.

        The US already does something similar, and there is a large body of signing countries to this convention. If you live abroad you still have to pay US taxes even if you never make use of any US services. If you renounce your citizenship, you have to pay the US government a large tax as if you have sold every single asset that you presently own (so basically 30% of everything you have) plus some other fees and levies - if you don't do this, then the US will have you extradited and jailed. (This is why those complaining about those ex-patriots who renounced their citizenship to avoid future taxation have unfounded complaints - they already had to pay more than their pre-existing dues just to renounce their citizenship; they just want to avoid paying future taxes to a government that doesn't provide any services to them whatsoever.)

        • Re:Seems reasonable (Score:5, Informative)

          by w_dragon (1802458) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @08:49PM (#45981767)
          The US is about the only country that taxes citizens regardless of where they live and work. Which leads to a fun situation where the kids of US citizens born abroad are considered natural US citizens and expected to file taxes, but may not be eligible to vote depending on which state their parents were from. Taxation without representation.
        • by CRCulver (715279)

          if you don't do this, then the US will have you extradited and jailed.

          Cite this please. Living abroad, knowing a large number of US citizens who have renounced their citizenship to avoid tax hassles, I have never heard of anyone being "extradited and jailed". Even those who were challenged to pay blew the bill off without consequence. I can understand the US going after a few big fish, but the majority of US citizens abroad renouncing their citizenship these days are not particularly wealthy and not worth

          • Actually I'd like you to cite please; in fact I'm going to pull the "I call BS" card as well. There's actually an official list of people who have renounced their citizenship each quarter for tax purposes, published by the IRS, and it isn't all that large (2,963 in 2013 to be precise, and 2013 was a big year for this.) Just how many people on that list do you actually know? Almost all of them are filthy rich. What, are you the captain of their yacht club or something?

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ke... [forbes.com]

            Some go so far as to say that the U.S. tax and disclosure laws are downright oppressive.

            No group is more severely impacted than U.S. persons living abroad. For those living and working in foreign countries, it is almost a given that they must report and pay tax where they live. But they must also continue to file taxes in the U.S. What’s more, U.S. reporting is based on their worldwide income, even though they are paying taxes in the country where they live.

            Many can claim a foreign tax credit on their U.S. returns, but it generally does not eliminate all double taxes.

            The la

      • You didn't just tell Russia that it can't use international law, did you. Are you really daring Lawyers to not be able to do something using the law??

        • by icebike (68054)

          Look, cops aren't going to chase all over hell rounding up people for skipping out on a student loan.
          Its a civil matter, and we have enough of our own criminals to catch, let alone Russian absconders.

          Hell, our cops won't even round up terrorists when Russian security tells us they are dangerous, instead we let them bomb marathons.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Well, you do realize that you have family still in Russia who may be subject to pay your fines in lieu of you paying the fines.

        That said, I think Russia has been in a different direction since the USSR broke apart. Still corrupt, still messed up, but the have been slowly moving in the right direction.

        Meanwhile, we have the US and Europe which has been steadily moving in the wrong direction. Freedom has been diminishing and continues to be eroded. The US is very much hit or miss on liberty today and getti

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Actually, they have apparently been accepting grants all along, for many years, but never coming back.

        The new decree (Do they not pass laws over there?) simply says:

        Students who earned bachelor's degrees in Russian universities may enter leading [foreign] universities... and be eligible for financial support from the government.
        If these students would like to stay overseas after graduation, they would have to pay a hefty amount to Russia that would include all the money spent on the education plus a fine tw

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        They could have an exchange program - send Russians over to US to study there on J1 visas, and bring in Americans to study in Russian universities. Given the population depression in Russia, have American students come to Russia on the condition that they'll settle down there. Since there are probably a lot more jobs there, particularly in Siberia, the Americans could be allowed in on condition that they won't leave, while the Russians are free to go.

        In a few decades, Russia would be an English speaki

    • by Chemisor (97276)

      If they don't go back to Russia, what penalty can they suffer? Emigration is not a crime, so they would not be extradited. Considering the joblessness, poverty, and employer dishonesty throughout Russia who would go back if they don't have to? However, these problems are gradually spreading over the rest of the world as well, so at some point in the near future Russia will look no worse than any other country.

      • by sjames (1099)

        In the U.S. there are some grants for med school that stipulate practicing in under served rural areas for a time after becoming a doctor. If you don't put in the time you have to pay back the grant.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If they don't go back to Russia, what penalty can they suffer?

        Polonium. Straight up, or on the rocks.

      • No, but tax evasion is, if they do what I described in a previous post.

    • by famebait (450028)

      This type of catch in itself is not that uncommon or interesting.

      The interesting questions are "why so harsh" and mor importantly:
      "why now?" and?

      The answer is that educated russians with marketable degrees are fleeing the country by the boatload to escape what Putin is doing to Russia.
      Eroding freedoms, isolationalist policies, state-sponsored nationalism, rampant corruption, tolerance of violent crime, and these things in turn scaring away foreign investors - to an intelligent, educated young adult this ea

  • Once they come back (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cyberspittle (519754)
    They will be made into nobles. After several generations, there will be a revolution, and cycle will repeat.
  • the whole point of these programs is to kind of 'leapfrog' a country's current level of technology/skill. If the state pays for a student to study abroad (i'm looking at you Saudi Arabia), it should absolutely be implied that the student *should* return home to put those skills to use.
  • From the summary:

    "educating Russians at top global universities dates back to the times of Peter the Great"

    So... what's the point of this story?

    .
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To let the "nerds" graduating highschool in the next couple of years that they are gonna have some more competition at the good schools

    • Re:Nothing new. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @06:59PM (#45981101)

      So... what's the point of this story?
       

      Well, turn it around.

      If the US government paid for your education in prestigious foreign universities, and you could have all that debt forgiven by coming home to work, wouldn't you find that attractive?

      • Re:Nothing new. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aeonym (1115135) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:15PM (#45981213)

        But to complete your comparison, you'd also be able to make 4 or 5 times as much money overseas because wages in the US were considerably lower. In the short term, debt forgiveness is appealing--but in the long term it's a bad deal compared to the extra earnings/savings you could accrue.

        • by icebike (68054)

          You might want to Rethink that [wikipedia.org]

          Come home to a high paying US wage, with a pretty low tax rate, AND have your College debt forgiven? Why not. If you insist the grass is greener, you can always work a few years, get the debt forgiven, then move back for the lower paying foreign job and higher tax rates.

      • There are programs [borenawards.org] like that.
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      It's a stab at Putin acting like a tsar. The "new" thing is that they are looking at better ways to lure them back.
    • by gtall (79522)

      The point? That Putin is the new Czar. All bow down to his intellect and despair.

  • The crying shame in the UK is that many graduates cannot find real jobs and end up flipping burgers. If Putin ensures that they have a good chance of getting a job upon return to Russia - many will find that an attractive proposition and be more than willing to return.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Russia's economy has been booming for years. There is massive foreign investment in Russian industry. Their energy sector is straight up roaring. Russia had fully recovered from the 2008 'crisis' by mid-2010 and kept growing from there. Russia is a creditor nation now, buying the public debt of declining nations, such as the US.

      Russian unemployment is about 6%. And that's a legitimate number as well; not like US unemployment figures that are mostly the result of shrinking the size of the workforce to p

    • by PPH (736903)

      good chance of getting a job upon return to Russia

      Flipping pirozhki?

      • All your wizard friends--shot, everyone who ever sold you perogi--shot.

        Hmm. Well, this *is* Putin we're talking about here.

    • There is no shortage of jobs in Russia, at least in IT.

  • by Espectr0 (577637)

    This is common practice on lots of countries. In Venezuela this has been going for almost a century (though i don't know the current status since our problem with $$$), they give you a scholarship to study abroad with the condition to come back, otherwise they give you (or your relatives) the bill.

    • by Zaatxe (939368)
      Same in Brazil. My ex-wife earned 1 year of her PhD in Spain from the government, but she had later to work in Brazil for at least 1 year in return. The real news would be if no country did this.
  • Let's ask ourselves: What would Ivan the Terrible do?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why would they want to do that? Russian science and engineering education (especially undergraduate) is top-notch. I would NOT want to have been educated in the States, including the overhyped Harvard or MIT although I do like working and living here. Graduate school is a different matter but it is hard to beleive that the problems with Russian science are education related. Money (or lack thereof) and lack of respect is a more likely cause.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Where would you prefer to have been educated (assuming you would prefer education at all)? American universities are rather well regarded and university education is one of USAs major exports.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I got my undergraduate education in Russia. No complaints. I teach at an ameican university, so I know what american undergraduate education looks like, on average. As far as exports go, this is not surprising: 1) it is easy to get into an american unirversity, as long as you have money, 2) a lot of other countries have even worse systems. We are talking about STEM (as it is fashionably called nowadays) education, so it very well may be that american univerisities provide excellent non-STEM education. As fa

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lamps (2770487)

        Gotta agree, to a large extent, with the AC above. US universities often seem to be a much more serious proposition at the grad level than at the undergrad level, although this can vary quite a bit from university to another, and from one concentration/major to another. US universities' reputations have more to do with their ability to provide a heavy duty grad (i.e. professionalizing) education and with their research output than they do with their undergrad offerings (which is often a hand-holding jog, bu

  • Pay for the education through student loans.

    Then Russia owns them forever, just like regular creditors.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:21PM (#45981273) Journal
    It is very common. In fact you don't even have to go abroad. Government of India paid me full pay and benefits of a gazetted [*] officer for my Masters in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. With the stipulation I work of the Ministry of Defense for three years after completing the degree. If I quit earlier I had to pay back the salary received during the study period. That is all.

    [*] Gazetted officers are the civilian equivalent of the commissioned officers. Induction to the service by the President published in The Gazette of the Government of India. I had the right to sign government documents and files in green ink. My batch mates are under secretaries and joint secretaries of the government now. I am a lowly slashdotter with 31 achievements.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Brazil it's pretty much the same, except it's only valid if you travel abroad AFAIK. If the government pays you to study overseas you must come back and stay in the country for an equal period. If you breach the contract you must pay back the money you received until that point. If you refuse to pay the other person who signed the contract (e.g. a parent/brother/etc) will have to. If once again they refuse to pay and are abroad then I suppose the government is just glad to be rid of them.

      I don't see the

    • I think this also holds for medical students in India - students in government medical colleges have to work for a few years for the government.

  • in the US if they wanted to. So why not? Hell, they could partner with the State Department for stateside enforcement on this whole "get educated in the US, contribute to the economy back home" scheme.
  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:40PM (#45981413)

    ... student loans collect you!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These days you can just buy textbooks, read them, watch youtube videos, go online to ask questions, and learn just about anything you want that you would learn from a university. OK, some exceptions maybe, for instance, labwork experience but you don't need an expensive fancy university for that, your local community college or university can do just fine. You can get just as good an education at your local university as you could at a prestigious foreign one but you need to have interest and ambition.

    Yes I

  • Before Putin, the testing of school graduates had a form of individual exams and essays performed by teachers. Now, in attempts to exclude corruption, the automated formal tests (YEGE - Yedinyi Gosudarstvennyi Ekzamen - The Uniform State Exam) are performed. The graduates just mark the numbers of correct answers.

    I am not going to discuss the destruction of rational thinking by training the children to choose the only correct answer, especially when there is a political course such as history. I just inform

  • Ah, Comrade Putin, he is bringing back another practice of the USSR: defection.

  • Putin is confident they will be "properly motivated"

  • No Family or Friends to threaten, then no go.... Is this what they mean by "properly motivated"?

  • Just say you're gay, and they know about it at home, and if you go back to Russia the government will do bad things to you.

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