Financial guidance

Beware Of Scholarship Scams

Collegepond Counsellors (Jimeet Sanghavi)

Overseas education is undeniably a hefty investment. While you may want to look for ingenious ways to fund your education, please be on guard against dubious scholarship scams that use heavy sales pitches to lure unsuspecting students and make some quick money. Always remember the golden rule -- any genuine enterprise will by no means assure you scholarships or grants. We urge you use your common sense and be careful not to fall prey to such manoeuvres. Here are some tips on how to identify such scams.

  1. There is a hefty application fee involved : if the organization in question is asking you to pay a very high amount of application fee, think twice. It may be nothing more than a deceitful move to take money out of your pocket. Genuine scholarships are always merit based and are extended to deserving or needy students only. Any organization that claims to get the scholarship on your behalf is taking you for a ride.
  2. Ask for your personal information: if the concerned organization is urging you to divulge your personal information such as your date of birth, account number or bank details, make sure you don’t give them out. You could be at a risk of identity theft. This deceitful organization may be trying to hack your account and rob you of your account balance overnight. It's always better to check online for the reviews and reports about the institution beforehand.
  3. Scholarship Guaranteed: beware of any such organizations giving you guaranteed scholarships. While the prospect may sound enticing, it can never happen that an organization will blindly give you scholarship without evaluating your GPAs and other credentials.
  4. Unsought scholarships: if you receive any notification from an organization stating you have won a scholarship you never applied for, do not be fooled. No organization, no matter how philanthropic in nature, will ever extend an unsolicited scholarship.
  5. Scholarship for a price: Any legitimate scholarship will not involve collaterals or guarantors. In rare cases if it does, please make sure that do your own research and discover the truth behind it. It may be a loan scholarship and not a merit-based scholarship and you want to not mistaken one for the other.
  6. Pressure tactics: “It is now or never” or “click for an exclusive offer“ are phrases you should be wary of. Any organization or college would never keep a scholarship under wraps. Any company claiming to have an exclusive right to a scholarship is leading you up the garden path.
  7. Cyber world is chock-a-block with internet phishing scams and you may get countless emails from these fraudulent companies flooding your account. Always watch out for these red flags and safeguard yourself from being soft target to such ploys. It is always a good idea to Google; speak to your seniors and counsellors before applying for any scholarship.

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