NSC funding for travel stipend unavailable for Taiwan PRs

The policy of the National Science Council (NSC) does not provide support for Taiwanese permanent residents.

I have been a legal taxpaying resident of Taiwan since 2001, and will soon be eligible to be a permanent resident of Taiwan through marriage to my wife who is a citizen. For six years, I was in the service of the education system as an English teacher until last year, when I began my studies for Master’s degree at National Central University (NCU). At this time, I am in my second year at NCU, and one of my research papers was accepted for publication at an international conference that will be held this year in Canada. My advisor suggested I must apply for a travel grant with the National Science Council (NSC) before inquiring about further financial support for travel from my university or department.

However, when I contacted the NSC about getting a travel stipend, they told me that travel stipends are only given to ROC citizens. Though overseas Chinese are also eligible for these grants, it is the express policy of the NSC that I am ineligible because of my country of citizenship, because I am not of Chinese heritage. Is there any way to protest this discriminatory funding policy? I have paid taxes for 6 years, but neither those taxes nor those of the people to whom I have been providing education can support my international travel as a student in Taiwan. I am worried about becoming a professor in Taiwan, since these same discriminatory policies will prevent my research endeavors.

Here is the email I received from the NSC:

Dear Tom Anderson:
Dear All: 請注意,僑生和外籍生等,不補助。 只補助一般生。 謝謝。

研究推動組 湯郁玲

----- Original Message -----
From: 陳文俊
To: apple@cc.ncu.edu.tw
Cc: 王微琄 ; 楊遠輝 ; 謝宛蓁 ; 董湘興 ; 陳文俊
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 10:05 AM
Subject: FW: FW: 國科會大學生/碩士個人網帳號密碼確認函 - 2008/8/11下午 06:52:46

Dear All: 請注意,僑生和外籍生等,不補助。 只補助一般生。 謝謝。

From: 謝宛蓁 On Behalf Of 資訊客服信箱
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 4:09 PM
To: 陳文俊
Subject: FW: FW: 國科會大學生/碩士個人網帳號密碼確認函 - 2008/8/11下午 06:52:46


From: Tommy Anderson [mailto:twocsies@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 2:35 PM
To: 資訊客服信箱
Subject: Re: FW: 國科會大學生/碩士個人網帳號密碼確認函 - 2008/8/11下午 06:52:46
Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I have since logged into my account.
At this time, however, I have encountered another difficulty. I am applying for a travel grant for a conference. As the NSC system for travel grants is all in Chinese, I am having some trouble. I wrote my 300-500 word description of my paper in English, but as the system only accepts 300-500 characters of Chinese it cannot accept an English description of the paper. Do I need to have the paper description translated, or is there an alternate method of application that could accomodate an English summary?
Tom Anderson
Graduate Institute of Network Learning Technology
National Central University, Taiwan

Yes it’s true that in many countries some resources are only available to citizens and not permanent residents.

Thats just life.

Become a citizen of the ROC :smiley:

Are you not on a full scholarship anyway? Why not just spring for the ticket with all of the money you are saving by not having to pay for tuition?

The economic reality is that I am not saving a lot of money. In the US, a graduate student could pick up some money as a research assistant or teaching assistant, but in Taiwan those kinds of jobs are reserved for Taiwanese. Only in the six months have foreign graduate students even been legally allowed to get work, but actually if you’re getting a scholarship you’d better not try getting work or you risk getting your scholarship reduced or taken away.

Secondly, the largest scholarship for studying a Master’s degree that comes from my university amounts to only $15,000 per month. I am able to keep getting that scholarship because I was the top of my class of eighteen students in the first year and this year also published four research articles in international conferences. From that monthly $15,000 I must pay my credit fees, buy books, pay rent, buy food, and not to mention the assorted other things. I am able to do it because my wife can help to support me.

Although the NSF and my institution should help me, I understand that I could also pay some of my own money. I have calculated that I would be able to pay $30-40K of my own money, but it is economically not possible for me to pay the entire NT$70,000 that it would take to including airfare, conference fees, etc. that it costs to go to an international conference in Canada. If my research that is in question was further developed, it would benefit the people of Taiwan as it deals with developing alternative methods of improving the English ability of Taiwanese adults through using virtual reality.

In general, travel expenses for these kinds of conferences are borne by the institutions, not the individuals. But my university is bound by the same guidelines as the NSC so I am looking at receiving nothing to support my hard work. By the way, the US NSF will help foreign graduate students attending US institutions, as will the Australian government. Although certain nations enact certain policies to benefit those who are citizens and not support foreign graduate students, Taiwan is attempting to be in the top nations science-wise in attracting foreign students to their university, so IMO this is clearly not a reciprocal arrangement. As this is the policy not to support foreigners who do research in Taiwanese universities, this policy is detrimental to the productivity of researchers. I posted in the legal boards because I suspect that the NSC policy is not in accordance with Taiwanese laws, which have been revised in the past few years to reflect greater equality of all people in Taiwan, not just those who were born in Taiwan or those who can show that their father is ethnically Chinese. I hope someone can advise me about contesting this funding policy.

I have had NSC funded projects through my uni for the last three years (but this year it didn’t get renewed, boo-hoo!). Over that period, I gave presentations in Poland, Cambodia and Portugal, as well as attending a conference in Spain where I did not present.

All of this was funded by NSC.

I am Asst Prof, but a colleague from Canada who is an instructor has managed to get one-off travel grants for overseas conferences.

At the moment I do not have permanent residency, and nor I think does my colleague.

Are you saying that I will lose the right to make NSC applications if I obtain permanent res? Certainly there is no problem applying and getting funds for a normal ARC holder (not JFRV, if that makes any difference).

Or has someone just given you misleading information?

EDIT: sorry I didn’t realize you were a student. Your OP says you are a teacher, and then a student… it confused me.

I have no idea what the position is for students: if grants are available for Chinese/Taiwanese and not for foreigners, it does seem unfair. In the UK and US totally different tuition fees are charged depending on where you come from, and in the UK there are various grants only available to EU students. But that is based on residency, not nationality (or race, as in your case :noway: )

It took many years in the US for non-citizens to be eligible for educational grants and loans. A court case decided this as late as the 1970s. Taiwan is still in the early stages of adjusting to the new realities of immigration. But there has been a great deal of progress recently. For example, it is no longer legal to discriminate against foreign nationals for employment.

I noticed in the response you received that overseas Chinese are also not eligible. More importantly, the email does not cite any law or regulation in support of the NSC’s policy. I suggest you write back and ask them what the basis is. You should also contact some of the immigrant rights groups and see what they think. Their mission is largely to serve female immigrants from Southeast Asia, but they might take an interest since this could someday effect their constuency.