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The World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship (WSAF) 2010. SCAM? You Must Read This.

What you are about to read could be tagged ‘The Most Controversial Blog-Post of The Year’. It could even create a wrong impression of this blog- AfterSchoolAfrica.com – but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

A lot have been said and written about scholarship scams. Students fall victim of these con artists out of desperation and only have regrets to deal with afterwards. If there is anything you should know about Scammers, it is their ability to feed on your desire.
Just yesterday evening -at about 6:23 am, 10th of August 2010- I recieved a mail from a scholarship winner (name withheld) that read:

Dear Sir,
I was shortlisted for the world scholars alumni foundation scholarship 2010 yesterday. I was so elated but it was short lived because they said in the award letter that i should pay 110 USD student membership fee and 94.25 USD for fingerprint… Please, help me verify if this scholarship is for real or scam.
Thanks and God Bless.

I was quick to reply the student, without really investigating the program in question. May be I should have taken some time before drawing conclusions. Here was my reply:

Hi [student name]. It is quite obvious that you are dealing with scholarship scammers. I take to this opinion for the following reasons:
** genuine scholarship foundations do not request for money from winners
** if there is any student membership fee you have to pay, it should be made to the school you are to attend
** for the fingerprint, hmm, never heard about requiring one to claim a scholarship award.
Well, may be you should do further investigations yourself….

After the reply, I decided to search “World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship 2010” on google and found very few reviews on the scholarship program. In fact, there was less than 10 websites on Google about the scholarship. On reading through the reviews, I got to noticed how generous the World Scholars Alumni Foundation have been. In fact they would deserve an award on The Most Generous Non-Profit Foundation of the century, honestly. I’ll tell you why I think so. I might have been wrong about the program in the first instance. Well, just read on.

I’ll pick the scholarship review on the webpage at www.iacbg.org/board/index.php?showtopic=1972 and highlight on some points from the scholarship announcement. I’ll advise that you read between the lines. Quotes from the review are in bold letters.

The scholarship announcement began thus:
Welcome to the WSAF Scholarship 2010. You are just a few short steps away from realising your ambitions at a university of your choice. Please note that the scholarship application is only available online. We will not accept any hard copies or physical applications. Candidates must attach softcopies of the documents to be submitted to the Scholarship Committee. WSAF is currently accepting softcopies only. No hardcopies will be accepted.
Downloadable application forms in pdf format are used for most of our programmes…

With this you don’t need to bother about the contact details. All you need to be eligible is to not submit a hard copy. So this takes away all the stress of conventional postal services. Nice one. But why so much emphasis on not submitting through post? The scholarship was open from 15 NOVEMBER 2009 to 7 JULY 2010. Hmm, 7 July; just the day after my birthday.

…Short-listed candidates will be notified six (6) weeks after the application deadline. The candidates will be contacted directly and instructed on the next course of action to consummate the award process…

OK! I missed this part. Your being shortlisted doesn’t mean you have won the scholarship, right? You are just one of the students to pay 110 USD student membership fee and 94.25 USD for fingerprint. Correct me if I’m Wrong.

In order to achieve its objectives, the WSAF follows five guiding principles:
1- Quality:
The WSAF promotes study at the highest quality institutions to help students to achieve self-learning and continuing education that is aligned to international standards.
2- Flexibility:
The WSAF system provides students with the opportunity to select the University of Choice and the field of study that matches their abilities and interests, and meet the needs of the labor market.
3- Accountability:
The WSAF seeks to create responsible students who become self-reliant in their learning process and active participants within the academic society.
4- Competency:
Build student competency through continued academic support provided by the WSAF.
5- Support:
The WSAF helps students throughout the scholarship process and informs them on the options they have – from choosing a major, to helping in the transition process, to providing information on employment opportunities after graduation.

This organization is willing to take you by the hand all the way through your career. Who wouldn’t want to abide under the shadows of The World Scholars Alumni Foundation? Not even you.
Everyone wants life to be easier.

…What is the WSAF Scholarship programme?
The WSAF scholarships and awards are made available under a series of bilateral educational agreements with governments of the recipient countries and institutions of higher learning around the world. The government of the recipient countries and various multinational companies in these countries has been the principal benefactor in a bid to foster development in these countries.

It’s quite unfortunate that the Countries in question are not mentioned here. Or may be I forget to note: it says Government of eligible developing countries. I wonder if your government remembered to let you in on the agreements. How great the grounds The Foundation must have covered so far! It’s an effort worth commending.

Now hear this one. It’s a fact you don’t want to skim through.

How many people will be awarded scholarships by WSAF?
There is no limit to the number of people that will be awarded the WSAF scholarship so long as candidates fulfill the requirements.

Wow! This is big. So if a hundred thousand students fulfill the requirements, they will surely recieve a scholarship. What is the requirement, You ask? Come on, you of all people should know that you only needed to download, fill and submit the application to qualify. In other words, there is no limit to the number of people that will have to pay 110 USD student membership fee and 94.25 USD for fingerprint services. The sum of 204.25 USD.
Here is a part you don’t want to miss.

…What are the odds of me receiving the WSAF Scholarship?
The success rate of our applicant pool has been anywhere from just below 40% up to 50% in the past few years. We cannot make any predictions as to how many applicants we will have in a given year.

Yeah! You just heard it. Which means that for every two to three applicants, one is likely to win. There must have been hundreds of thousands of past scholarship recipients so far. However, I tried to search for “World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship 2009” on Google and the result page showed no document for my query. How could that be? Where has World Scholars Alumni Foundation hidden their archives before 2010? Somebody please talk to me.

The review went further to highlight the requirements for undergraduate, Postgraduate and Post Doctoral students. Currently, the message on WSAF website www.wsaf2010.com/, reads:

Due to delayed submission of supplemental materials by some applicants, the slated date, (July 30, 2010) for the announcement of the 2010WSAF scholarship application results has been postponed to August 09, 2010.
Shortlisted candidates for the 2010 award will be notifie
d via email on August 09, 2010…

Still generous enough to wait and accept late submission, the foundation has finally shortlisted it’s scholarship candidates and you are likely to have recieved a confirmation as one of the lucky winners.

The World Scholars Alumni Foundation, awards Scholarships to between 40 and 50 percent of their applicants over the years. The scholarship is open to undergraduate students -for Bachelors’ Degree- and postgraduate students – for Masters’, PhD or Doctoral Degree – for every course of study. Therefore, virtually every student in the eligible developing countries are eligible to apply. That could amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of applicants. That would be a lot of work for the scholarship selection committee. Then, 204.25 USD from shortlisted candidates between 40 and 50 percent of applicants, may be more this time; hmm, enough to award some more scholarships.
I leave you to further comment on this issue. Did you apply for The World Scholars Alumni Foundation Scholarship 2010? Were you shortlisted? What is your view to this arguement? Please share on comment below.

Update: Be sure to read through the interesting comments and share your experience.
In the course of the discussion, a Facebook Group was created to help spread the News. Join the group and help pass the word around

See the follow up post on this discussion. CLICK HERE

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