Scholarship Scams: Recognizing Legitimate Scholarships

Students put numerous efforts into getting the right scholarships in India. However, students and parents are vulnerable to scholarship scams. The reason behind it is that they do not possess adequate knowledge about the scholarship websites and scholarship application process. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct comprehensive research before stepping into the ocean of scholarships in India. There are several scholarships for Indian students offering financial aid for different educational needs. Students can easily apply for scholarships online and take online quizzes or examinations to get scholarships in India. An example of such a scholarship is the Auro Scholar micro-scholarship program. Students can take online quizzes and get micro-scholarships of up to INR 1000 every month.

Applying for scholarships requires a lot of research. Students need to look for scholarships online and get all the details right. These details include the scholarship amount, duration of availability, eligibility criteria, and document requirements among others. Though the Internet facilitates easy access to all the information, it makes way for scammers to execute their fraudulent ideas. In our blog on Identifying Scholarship Scams in India, we mentioned some of the common scholarship scams. In this blog, we will help you with the ways to recognize legitimate scholarships.

Recognize Scholarship Scams

It is quite tough to recognize legitimate scholarships out of a pool of scholarship scams. A scholarship is legitimate if it fulfils the following conditions.

a) Requires an Exam

A legitimate scholarship requires an examination. No organization disburses scholarships for free without making sure that the applicant deserves them. So, understand that it is a red flag if you see a scholarship website offering hefty scholarships. Taking a qualifying exam is necessary to get a legitimate scholarship. Several scholarship scams use this technique to lure students and parents and scam them into fulfilling their fraudulent needs. This is the easiest way to ignite a sense of greed in the applicants and drag them into fulfilling their evil desires.

b) Asks for Proof
Another big indication of a legitimate scholarship is that it asks for proof of the applicant’s education and achievements. Legitimate scholarships require additional support documents in the form of transcripts, CAT/SAT scores or recommendation letters. Also, most scholarships have a minimum GPA requirement. Only students fulfilling these requirements are eligible to get scholarships. However, scholarship scams do not ask for any such proof. They are ignorant about the fact as there is no scholarship to offer, just a scam.

c) Possess a minimum GPA requirement
Different types of scholarships catering to the various educational needs of students are available in India. Some scholarships are for school students and the others are to help students pursue higher studies. However, a common requirement of all scholarships is that the applicant must score a minimum GPA in the given examinations. Therefore, if a website says they offer scholarships and does not ask for a GPA, it is straightaway a scholarship scam.

d) Has an Eligibility Criteria
Students applying for scholarships need to fall under certain eligibility criteria in order to get the scholarship. The eligibility criteria may relate to educational qualifications or additional certification. Also, some scholarships have an age bar for the applicants, specifically the one giving scholarships for a Doctorate. On the other hand, scholarship scams project that they are open to everyone. They do not have a set eligibility criterion or have flexible terms of eligibility. Therefore, applicants must be watchful of such signs of scholarship scams to identify legitimate scholarships.

e) Does not Claim Doing Everything for You
A legitimate scholarship website never claims to do everything for the applicants. Also, no organization voluntarily offers scholarships to specific students unless they apply for them. Another factor to consider here is that no website guarantees scholarships money unless the applicants take an examination and perform exceptionally, fulfilling the eligibility requirements. Students have to look for and apply for scholarships on their own and initiate the further processes all at once. Usually, very few scholarship applications require anything more than filling an application for and taking the examination. So, if a scholarship website says they will do everything for you and tries to get into your personal data, understand that it is a scholarship scam.

f) Does not Ask Personal Information
Neither a scholarship website nor the organization has to do anything with the applicant’s personal information. This information includes debit card number or the OTP, Bank account details, personal identification information and more. Therefore, no legitimate scholarships ask for any personal information of the applicant. Beware if you come across a program or website that asks for your personal information to provide a scholarship.

g) Processing or Redemption Fees
One of the most common scholarship scams is charging fees in the name of registration, application or processing fees. There are common instances of scholarship websites asking for application fees while offering a huge amount of money as scholarships. Such offers mislead students into thinking that a mere application fee is worth the investment to get a big scholarship. As a result, these scholarship scammers make money and vanish away with all the money. Applicants must make sure that they do not fall for such scholarship scams and use their discretion before paying.

h) Does not Ask Information Over Call
A legitimate scholarship website does not ask for any information over a call. Once you fulfil the eligibility criteria and take the test, the score decides whether you will get the scholarship. Also, while applying for scholarships, the applicants fill in all the details in the form itself. Therefore, there must be no need to ask for any information over a call. If you come across any such scholarship scam, make sure you do not provide any information to prevent further loss of money and information.


Keeping all the points in mind, applicants can easily avoid scholarship scams and get the right scholarship they need to support their education. However, certain websites are so perfect in scamming the users that they are nearly unrecognizable. The applicants need to be cautious and learn to identify even the smallest signs of scholarship scams while applying for scholarships.