Scholarship Scams

  1. Scholarship Scams

Beware of Scholarship Scams

There are a number of scholarship scams based on genuine scholarship offers from universities, foundations, scholarship sponsors, and scholarship search services. It is important to remember that when applying to university in the U.S. admission will always come before an offer of financial aid.

For international students, over 95 percent of financial aid comes directly from U.S. universities and colleges, not private foundations or institutions. Less than four percent of international students receive scholarships from private entities.

Warning Signs of a Possible Scam

If a scholarship program requires an application, redemption, or handling fee, even a seemingly low fee, don’t waste your money! No legitimate scholarship application requires a fee.

No legitimate scholarship provider will guarantee that you will win the award, and scholarship search services cannot guarantee that you will win an award. Ambiguous eligibility restrictions and high “success” rates are another warning sign.

American universities do not provide scholarships to students solely based on their performance on national exams. They take into consideration several factors including standardized test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

Exercise extreme caution if a scholarship deadline is only a few weeks away and encourages you to respond quickly because the awards are given on a “first-come, first served basis.”

Protecting Yourself from Scholarship Scams

Two rules will help protect you from most scholarship scams:

  • If you have to give money to get money, it is a scam.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Never give out your bank account numbers or bank card numbers, over the phone or email, especially to an unsolicited offer. Double check the email address to ensure it belongs to reputable institution and is not a personal email account. Never send money!

Be aware of the fact that phone numbers can be spoofed; just because a caller claims to be phoning you from the U.S. embassy or another known organization does not mean that they are. Software can be used to spoof phone numbers.

What to Do If You Suspect a Scam

If you suspect a scam, send a copy of all correspondence to the EducationUSA advisor at:

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