Scholarship Scams: Combating Fraud with Awareness

The saying goes that there is no light without darkness. Scholarship assistance programmes offer a valuable resource to the needy students, aspirants including others while providing financial assistance and supporting research endeavors. However, they are also susceptible to fraudulent activities. Fraudulence committed in scholarship programmes can manifest in various ways, such as falsifying application materials or misrepresenting qualifications, fake scholarship programmes etc. Organisations managing these grants have a significant responsibility to ensure proper management and accountability. 

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In the wake of recent news of the Delhi scholarship scam, a scrutiny of the 25.5 lakh applicants verified under the minority scholarship scheme of the Ministry of Minority Affairs threw up a shocking reality. Over 6.7 lakh applicants were found to be nonexistent when Aadhaar-based biometric authentication was carried out. This pointed to a scam involving fake beneficiaries. Ineligible candidates were given admissions and fictitious bank accounts were opened for the payment of scholarships by various institutions, illegally withdrawing an amount of ₹144 crore. More than 2,38,089 eligible students from the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) community were deprived of their promised sport in the form of scholarship assistance.

Misinformation and deception are the main weapons of such wrongdoings. To combat fraud, strict protocols should be in place to ensure fair evaluation of applicants and award scholarships only to those who meet the criteria. Utilising a scholarship grant management programme can greatly assist in this endeavor. Such a programme can streamline the application process, automate verification of application materials, and enhance monitoring of scholarship usage to prevent fraudulent activities. Through this article, it is a sincere attempt to help you establish a clearer understanding of the process dealing with any such situation.

Key Identifiers of Scholarship Programme Involving Scams

Pay to Receive: Is the entity offering a scholarship or loan asking for advance payment? Genuine scholarship programmes never ask for ‘application fee’ or ‘processing cost’ or any down payment for that matter in advance to ‘secure your application’ or provide you with the opportunity. A common form of fraudulence occurs where the sponsorer sends a cheque and asks for one in return on the pretext of paying taxes or a processing fee. 

A legitimate scholarship programme is always free and the only thing it may cost is your time and effort. Likewise, real companies offering loans add fees to the final loan amount that has to be repaid over a period of time. 

Show-off Seminars: Seminars are often organised to provide legitimacy to the programme itself. These seminars or workshops work as a forum to showcase achievements, expertise, or products in a manner that is perceived as boastful or self-promotional. These seminars often focus more on impressing the audience rather than providing valuable and informative content.

Guarantees: Genuine scholarship programmes do not guarantee rewards. They invite genuine applicants with a hope and generate trust in what it has to offer. There is no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to scholarship programmes.

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Eligibility Void: Scholarships, in their nature, require its recipients to meet certain criteria. It makes no sense for the entity to advertise a scholarship programme with an open-ended application eligibility unless there are legitimate and specific guidelines mentioned in the programmes. Moreover there are other means to authenticate its legitimacy.

Pressure and Persuasion: Legitimate organisations build trust and recognition over a period of time. They do not put pressure or persuade people with exclusive or limited offers. If you ever find anyone trying to pressure you into applying for a ‘limited and one time offer’ it could potentially be a scam.

Things to Watch Out For

Additionally, applicants need to remain watchful of the following essential pointers during the process of application for scholarship programmes. They are listed hereafter:

  • Safeguarding Personal Information
  • Verify the Legitimacy of the Scholarship Provider
  • Verify the Legitimacy of Websites or Press Release
  • Beware of Unsolicited Offers
  • Trust Your Instincts but Verify

Ways of Prevention of Fraud

A scholarship grant management programme can help prevent fraud using several methods. They are as follows:

Automating the Process of Application Verification 

A good scholarship management programme can help prevent fraud by automating the verification of application materials. These materials may include academic transcripts, certificates, resumes, and recommendation letters. Using the tools of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is easy to scan documents for accuracy and identification of any inconsistencies or discrepancies. This can save valuable time and effort of the organisation. It potentially improves the accuracy of the evaluation process by removing the possibility of a human error.

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Implementation of Measures for Fraud Detection 

A scholarship grant management programme may include fraud detection measures like identity verification and background checks. These measures verify identities and review academic and financial records of the applicants. This could involve tools for facial recognition or plagiarism detection software to authenticate essays and other written materials. By incorporating these measures, it is possible to detect fraudulent behavior and safeguard the integrity of the scholarship grant process.

Improvement in the Process of Evaluation and Review 

Improving communication among reviewers and simplifying evaluation criteria can enhance the process of evaluation. The program can facilitate collaboration among multiple reviewers, enabling more comprehensive and objective assessments. Additionally, it can also offer tools for tracking progress of the evaluation and providing feedback. With standardised criteria and collaborative evaluation, the programme ensures fair and objective assessments, while also allowing administrators to monitor the process effectively.

Offer Comprehensive Reporting and Analytics

Scholarship grant management programmes can furnish detailed reporting and analytics, aiding administrators in identifying patterns or trends in fraudulent behavior. The program can generate reports throughout the application and evaluation process in the pre-award stage, as well as on funds usage in the post-award stage. By scrutinising this data, administrators can pinpoint the areas where fraud is more likely to occur and take preventive measures accordingly. Additionally, the scholarship programmes can provide insights into the effectiveness such as the number of applicants, the success rate of applications, and the impact of the scholarships on the students.

Facilitate Simple Monitoring of the Scholarship Programme 

Last but not the least, after scholarship awards are granted and we enter the post-award phase, a management programme can aid in preventing fraud by making scholarship usage easy to monitor. The programme can mandate that scholarship recipients submit regular progress reports, detailing the academic advancements and the utilisation of scholarship funds. The programme administrators should be empowered to conduct site visits to verify and confirm that the funds are being utilised the way it was intended to be. By simplifying scholarship monitoring, the program can deter fraudulent activities and guarantee that the funds are being utilised as intended.

It is no secret that utilising technology and data, scholarship grant programmes can ensure that funds are allocated to deserving students, safeguarding the integrity of the process against fraud. Organisations can establish custom workflows to verify applications and generate reports, enhancing the grant management process and ensuring the long-term success of grants.

Buddy4Study – Ensuring Genuine Information and Guidance

Cross checking data through a reliable and renowned platform such as Buddy4Study ensures that you are getting the best results for your time and effort. At Buddy4Study, there is a dedicated and professional approach to streamlining of data and information that is posted on the platform. One can find detailed information on initiatives and collaborations for scholarships and education loan programmes on the official website. As far as the education loan programme is concerned, applicants can now avail customised repayment plans, flexible tenures and income tax benefits that can help them in financing their academic dreams without worries.

Also Read: How to steer clear of scholarship frauds?


Are scholarship programmes trustworthy?

A: If the scholarship programmes are being offered by an accredited non-profit institution, where almost 99% of all scholarships are administered, it is trustworthy.

What are the usual signs of a scam in the guise of a scholarship programme?

A: There are several signs indicating that a scholarship programme may be a scam. They are as under: 

  • Unsolicited Offers
  • Upfront Fees
  • Guaranteed Awards
  • No Contact Information
  • Pressure to Act Quickly
  • Unprofessional Communication
  • Requests for Personal Information
  • No Clear Eligibility Criteria
  • No Legitimate Website etc.

Is Buddy4Study a trustworthy platform?

A: Yes, the online platform of Buddy4Study is curated by professionals dedicated to connect scholarship seekers and providers. It puts forward the most trusted information on scholarship programmes and education loans in accordance with the flexible eligibility criteria.

How does one stay aware of fake scholarship programmes?

A: Staying aware of fake scholarship programmes requires the applicants to stay vigilant and careful. Some of the steps that applicants can take to avoid becoming victim to scholarship scams are as under:

  • Research the Organization
  • Look for a legitimate website, contact information, and reviews or testimonials from past recipients. 
  • Check for Accreditation: If the scholarship is offered by a school or college, make sure the institution is accredited. 
  • Beware of Unsolicited Offers
  • Avoid Paying Fees
  • Read the Fine Print: Carefully read the scholarship application and any accompanying materials. Look for any hidden fees, requirements, or conditions that may indicate a scam. 
  • Verify Contact Information

Some of these steps can help prevent the applicants becoming a victim. By sincerely following these steps and staying vigilant, it is indeed possible to protect from becoming a victim of fake scholarship programmes.


  1. Source of Information: Buddy4Study app compiles details on scholarships/fellowships from government websites and private scholarship sources. Links to the official sources accompany each listing detail pages.
  2. Non-affiliation: The Buddy4Study app is not associated with any government entity in India or elsewhere. When featuring government scholarships, we rely on publicly accessible information from central and state government websites in India.

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