Scholarships are a great way for international students to obtain financial support to do their higher study in China. For this reason scholarships are getting more popular among students and there are some companies/ individuals that will prey on students’ eagerness to obtain a scholarship to scam them out of money.
The best way to guard you from a scholarship scam is to know what the main scams are and how they work. To protect yourself there are many things you can look out to spot a Scholarship Scams in China.
Before applying through an agency, first check out their application procedure and refunding policies. To co-operate with China’s best education agency, we lost around 3000 USD. So before applying, make it clear – How much will they refund you, if they are unable to manage your admission or scholarship in China. Most of agencies don’t refund money or they become out of contact.
Money up front/ Application Fee
Whenever you are applying for a scholarship then make it clear, Is there any application fee or not? If you don’t get scholarship then will it be refundable or not?
Never send money without having perfect information. Different agencies have different working procedure, so be aware of it. Some agencies may ask you about File Opening Fee (what’s not refundable, either you get scholarship, admission or not), Management Fee (agencies are working with your documents and spending lots of time with your documents, so some agencies will not refund it to you), Service fee (If you get admission and scholarship then you need to pay a big amount). So before taking their service, make it clear about money matter.
Some agencies will most likely just pocket the money and you will never hear from them again.
Advanced Fees / Loan
You should be careful of companies that ask for a loan or advance money without any reason before they finish their work for you. Some companies will add fees to your loan or advance balance. One student told us, to get back his advanced money – agency forced him to do some courses from their agency, what’s totally useless to him.
Never trust a company that advertises to give you guarantee of scholarship in China. These companies will ask for a fee and may even offer a money back guarantee but will never get you a scholarship. Legitimate services will never say they guarantee to get your scholarship.
Scholarship is an award, so no one can give you guarantee for that. Guarantee is a trap for you.
Company/ Scholarship Names
If you see a scholarship service or company that is using words like “official”, “national”, “government” or other governmental or official sounding names be careful. They are most probably trying to sound official to cover up the scam.
No one can interfere on Chinese Govt. Scholarship. Once an agency told me, they can ensure because they buy from Govt. Please think a little, Govt. is spending million dollars to support students , will any government sell it in few hundred dollars? Of course not, No Govt. works for any agency or sell it to anyone. Another agency did marketing that, pre-admission letter to get scholarship and they will ensure pre admission letter within a week. It’s funny because pre-admission letter ensure your admission not scholarship. Be careful from cheap tricks of agencies.
Agencies only can assist you to apply with perfect documentation, what will increase possibility of scholarship in China but they can’t give any guarantee or confirmation for scholarship.
How to Protect Yourself from a Scam
There are few rules you should follow when searching for scholarships that will help you avoid being scammed. Ask yourself, “Is it too good to be true?”
If an offer or scholarship sounds too good to be true, it usually is! If you think something is just too good then sit back and do a little more research as things that sound too good to be true, usually are.
Some agencies may talk with you so confidently like: we are everything in this university; It’ll be your luck if you get admission here; Your life will be changed within one night; only we can give you guarantee, other agencies don’t know; we have special relation with university; all of our students will get scholarships, send me documents within one night, pay within a week otherwise no scholarship etc. Be aware from these types of words and agencies.
Less information and most imaginary words!
When any individual or agencies are giving you irrelevant information or not replying your all the quires then you should ask yourself before taking their service.
Never pay university fees to any company or agency
You should never give any money out to companies to cover things like tuition fees or dorm fees or deposit money of university. Some universities ask deposit to ensure your seat but you have to pay it into the university bank account, not any individual’s account. If you are unable to send then you may ask their help but make sure university issued a letter, where university is asking deposit money. One Chinese education agency in Shandong, asked 4 years insurance fees but they were unable to provide any documents and when student contacted with university then there was not any issue like that. You never need to pay very big amount or 4 years insurance like that. One agency took dorm fee from students but university dorm was free. some agencies take money from students but don’t pay to university and after coming in China , they again need to pay. So be careful to pay to university, never pay university fees to any agency and always pay directly to the university bank account.
If you have a scholarship offer that is asking for money up front or you want to make sure then contact them personally and make sure you can get hold of them by phone and ask for their physical address and other information as you want. Real companies will be glad to hand this information out and scam organizations will be hesitate to do this. In some cases, better to check their existence in social media or website activities.
This year, one guy gave scholarship offer in low service fee and also sent admission letter but later student got to know, there is no any university on that name. So be careful on it .
Do some checks on the company or organization that is offering the scholarship, for example use google to check their name (if someone has been scammed by them you will probably see their name online somewhere about it). Some agencies cheat with students and after going to China, students get to know, there is no any scholarship or they have been cheated. Then agencies say them to manage few students to get their survival cost to study there. Some students think, we have been cheated and they start to create same trap for future students. Every year some companies fraud with students but still they are in this business because every year they get new students with new trap and they always refer to their students who work with them. So check more about them to get right information, new organization will be risky and check old agencies’ reputation. Decision will be yours to avoid scholarship scams in China.
At the end, the best advice that anyone could give to find a legitimate scholarship is to use your time to search for a scholarship by yourself. Scholarships will not fall into your lap and there is no quick easy way to finding one – so just use your time wisely and follow the rules above and you should be fine!