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There are signs of scholarship scam students, particularly from the developing countries, should be wary of in their search for financial aid to complete their studies abroad.
There are genuine scholarships out there, but we’ve also discovered that scholarship con artists closely design scholarship programme with the aim of defraud you.
We also want you to note that the underlisted signs of scholarship scams do not automatically indicate fraud, but you should be wary of any website or organization that exhibits these signs.
“Please make payment of $10 USD to claim this scholarship which has been reserved for your country.”
If you come across any scholarship prgramme requesting you to pay scholarship application fees you should steer clear.
Application fees is our number one signs of scholarship scam because most of the time, the person or group behind such doesn’t really request for huge money.
They ask you to pay amount that won’t be tasking for you to afford. That’s why they ask you to pay fee that ranges between $2 to $20USD or below.
“Don’t believe claims that the fee is necessary to cover administrative expenses or to ensure that only serious candidates apply or that applicants who do not receive any money “may” be entitled to a refund,” finaid.org says.
Signs of scholarship scam in Nigeria
Assurance on winning
Another signs of scholarship scam is the assurance from the organisers that you WILL be given the scholarship.
Let’s face it…
“No legitimate scholarship sponsor will guarantee you’ll win an award. No scholarship matching services can guarantee that you’ll win any scholarships either as they have no control over the decisions made by the scholarship sponsors.”
Scholarship is awarded on merit, and the conditions for winning an education scholarship is always open to applicants.
When you see, “We assure you of this scholarship” please steer clear of such guaranty because it’s one of the signs of scholarship scam.
Masquerading as a federal agency or education foundation
One major signs of scholarship scam is fake education foundation and federal agency.
Fake designers of fake scholarship know how to fake it, they know how to design a web page to look closely related to the original website.
The name may sound official like US Educational Foundation for Less Privileged, Russian Education Scholarship for You etc are some of the official names that could be used to make you believe that it’s real.
If you come across official name like this you can contact the foreign embassy of such country for official confirmation via an e-mail. They usually respond to such inquiries.
Third party application
Another signs of scholarship scam you should watch out for is the request of some dubious agency wanting to apply on your behalf.
Application by proxy isn’t allowed in scholarship. To win a scholarship here are some of the things, after having all the requirements, you must do by yourself:
You must feel the form online yourself.
You must submit your own applications.
You must write your own essays
You must solicit your own letters of recommendation.
The above can’t be done by a third party or done for you by any agency. Scholarship is to encouraging academic excellence, as such you’re required to the the above things yourself.
You can only be guided on how to feel not do it for you.
Unsolicited scholarship opportunities
“You have been selected to apply for a wide range of scholarship opportunities in the following institutions. Please apply within one week of receiving this mail.”
The above is one of the signs of scholarship scam in Nigeria.
The above short e-mail is one of the many messages sent out to students, but “most scholarship sponsors will only contact you in response to your inquiry.”
Infobase take: If you’ve never heard of the organization before or applied for any scholarship before, it’s probably a scam, and you it’s advisable to ignore such message.
No proof of past winners:
If there is no evidence of past winners of such scholarship, then you should be very careful because that’s one of the signs of scholarship scam that is popular in Nigeria and across Afriaca
To search for the authenticity of a scholarship, one of the best thing to do is to Google search its veracity.
Even when you are able to get list of past winners, you should not jump in right away, fraudsters could also come up with fake list of winners, just to convince you.
There is no scholarship that doesn’t have past winners, even when it’s a new scholarship take your time to verify by visiting the organisers’ official website.
Influence on scholarship sponsors
Claim that the organisers can influence the decision of the selection panel is one of the signs of scholarship scam you should be wary of.
If Bill Gate organises a scholarship, he doesn’t have influence on the final selection again.
“Scholarship matching services do not have any control over the awarding of scholarships by third parties.”
If any agency promised you of its influence on a scholarship programme, you be very careful with details you share with them.
Claims of endorsement by university or Better Business Bureau
Don’t be carried away by claims that the scholarship has been endorsed by an internationally recognised foundation or a well-known private or government group.
Expert advise: “Call the school’s financial aid office to find out whether it is a university approved or sponsored event.’
Other questionable fees
If you must pay to get information about an award or scholarship, apply for the award or receive the award scholarship, be suspicious because is one of the indicators of scholarship scam.
“Never spend more than a postage stamp to get information about scholarships and loans,” finaid.org says.
Typing and spelling errors
“Application materials that contain typing and spelling errors or lack an overall professional appearance may be an indication of a scam. Many scams misspell the word “scholarship” as “scholarship,” expert at FinAid says
Even if it’s written error-free take your time to dig into its originality.
Everyone is eligible to apply
Scholarship sponsors are always looking for candidates who meet their requirements and “best match certain criteria.”
In that case, academic scholarship can NEVER be opened to everyone. You are only qualified if you meet the stipulated criteria.
There are rules. There are criteria.
If you see any academic scholarship that says “everyone can apply” then you should ignore it because it’s one of the signs of scholarship scam.
If it means those who do not have any academic qualification are eligible to apply, you should stay away from such.
Inability to substantiate awards:
Similar to the above is the failure of the promoters of such scholarship aid to prove that its scholarships are actually awarded and disbursed.
If it can’t be substantiated, then it could a scholarship scam.
Questionable loan fees
Another signs of scholarship scam is when you are asked to pay a fee in advance of obtaining an educational loan.
Sometimes, it is called any of the following “application fee”, “processing fee”, “origination fee”, “guarantee fee”, “default fee” or “insurance fee,” which they claim must be paid in advance.
Infobase take: When you are asked to pay in advance to apply for education loan, it’s probably a scam.
“Legitimate educational loans deduct the origination and default fees from the disbursement check. They never require an up-front fee when you submit the application,” experts at FinAid say.
Requests for your personal financial information
One of the signs of scholarship scam is when the organisers ask for your debit or credit cards details, or ask for how much you currently have in savings, you should be careful in sharing your financial details.
Most times, dubious people behind such try to have knowledge of your financial status before pouncing on you to defraud you.
They use the details they got requesting you to make certain payments in the course of communication with you.
Sound too good to be true?
If a scholarship aid is over-hype there should be reason for you to be cautious.
Such tempting words used include: “free money,” “win your fair share,” “guaranteed,” “first come, first served” this is what ukaid.org calls excessive hype.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably one of the signs of scholarship scam.
False claims about unclaimed scholarship aid
One of the signs of scholarship scam you should watch out for is the claim that millions of dollars of scholarship aid go unused each year because applicants don’t honour or know where to apply.
Scholarship funds can NEVER be enough, even there are always more applicants than the budget.
Disregard any scholarship financial aid that tells you that scholarship aid isn’t used in the previous year.
Other signs of scholarship scams include
If the return address is a mail drop (e.g., a box number) or a residential address, it is probably a scam. You use MAIL DROP SEARCH TOOL to check
Use of abusive words
Requesting you to call
The above signs of scholarship scam are some of the ones we know and familiar with, if you know of other ones, you’re free to share with us and the rest of the world that might find this information useful.