Avoid Scholarship Scams in China

Scholarships are an excellent 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 some companies/ individuals will prey on students’ eagerness to obtain an award (scholarship) to scam them out of money.

The best way to guard you against 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 -

Avoid Scholarship Scams in China !!!

Application Procedure 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 the scholarship then will it be refundable or not? Never send money without having perfect information.  Different agencies have a 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 the money matter. Some agencies will most likely 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 useless to him.

Guaranteed Scholarships Never trust a company that advertises to give you the 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. The scholarship is an award so that no one can give you a guarantee for that. The warranty 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 a 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 the scholarship and they will ensure pre-admission letter within a week. It's funny because pre-admission letter assures your admission, not scholarship. Be careful from the cheap tricks of agencies. Agencies only can assist you to apply with comprehensive documentation, what will increase the possibility of scholarship in China but they can't give any guarantee or confirmation for an award (scholarship).

How to Protect Yourself from a Scam There are a 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 also 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 a guarantee, other agencies don’t know; we have a special relationship 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 of 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 to 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 bank 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 make 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.

Contact them 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 hesitate to do this. In some cases, better to check their existence in social media or website activities. This year, one guy gave a scholarship offer in the 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 about it.

Get References Do some checks on the company or organization that is offering the scholarship, for example, use google to check their name (if they have scammed someone, 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 reach their survival cost to study there. Some students think, we have been cheated and they start to create the 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 the right information, the new organization will be risky and check old agencies' reputation. The decision will be yours to avoid scholarship scams in China.

In 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 use your time wisely and follow the rules above and you should be fine!