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General News of Monday, 29 June 2020

Source: Selorm Helen, Contributor

Scholarships: Rejected many times, ‘scammed’ by an agent – Two brilliant Ghanaians tell their stories


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Education is expensive, and for needy students especially, who are in pursuit of higher academic qualifications while enjoying peace of mind, securing scholarships could be a way to deal with the cost associated.

But applying for scholarships can certainly be frustrating, so, some applicants give up either during the application process or after they have been denied the opportunity a number of times. There are equally lucky applicants who made it at first try not because they had good grades or First Class. This is not to suggest good grades are not required; apart from degree certificate and transcripts, there are several requirements that guarantee your success in scholarship application.

In Ghana, reports suggest that beneficiaries of Government scholarships meant for “Needy but Brilliant students” are rather given to individuals from wealthy families who have ties with top officials in the country. This defeats the purpose of the scheme as a significant number of smart and needy Ghanaians are struggling to get funds for further studies.

Peter Dadzie and Catherine Agbo Forson are outstanding students who graduated with First Class Honours and won awards from their respective universities. Peter has since graduation failed to secure a scholarship for further studies despite applying for more than 20 scholarships in the past two years. The story is same for Catherine who decided to employ the services of an agent to help her secure a scholarship yet got scammed of some GH¢1,500.

Peter holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He graduated as the ‘Second Best Student’ in the Department of Economics in 2018. His plan was to pursue a Master’s degree after National Service but this has become a nightmare following his inability to secure funding.

Peter tells YouTube vlogger Selorm Helen, he has tried several scholarship schemes and got “bounced” each time he applied.

“I’ve tried quite a number of scholarships. I’ve tried MasterCard Foundation, Commonwealth shared scholarship, Chevening and many others I can’t remember now. I’ve not gotten any. The only scholarship I had was from Leeds University, UK in 2019 for MSc Economics and it’s for only tuition; no accommodation, no feeding and other things. I couldn’t raise funds for accommodation and cost of living,” he disclosed.

He further shared how his application documents were rejected and returned to him by GetFund in 2019. Despite this, he plans to try again this year.

“I want to try GetFund again. I applied last year and sent my application documents via post but they were returned to my department without any explanation. If I’m not able to get it, I’ll try again next year.”

Catherine, on the other hand, has had her share of disappointments, and sadly, got scammed by an agent.

She graduated from the African University College of Communications in 2016 and holds a B. A in Communication Studies. She won the ‘Overall Best Communication Studies, Overall Best African Studies, Overall Best Strategic Communication and Overall Best Student, Class of 2016 awards.

According to her, after attempts to win a full scholarship failed, she decided to apply through an agency recommended to her by a friend.

I applied for Chevening, Commonwealth and University base scholarships… I got partial university base scholarship and raising money to pay the rest isn’t easy. I’ve been trying for two years. The scholarships are competitive,” she said.

About being scammed, she said “I can never forget that agency. I was scammed GH¢1500 by AGODEL. The man is called Roland. He assured me that I could get the scholarship. I had applied to GetFund at that time and he was certain that I was going to get the scholarship. He asked me to pay an amount of money which was Thousand Five Hundred Cedis which I did pay, only for me not to get the scholarship. When I questioned him, he didn’t give me any tangible reason and obviously, I knew I was scammed.”

“The fact that you go through an agent does not guarantee that you’ll get the scholarship. The agency is AGODEL. This is just to warn others, when you see anything like that, I wouldn’t advise you to transact any business with him,” she advised.

Though both Catherine and Peter made it clear they have not given up on applying for scholarships, they are preparing to enrol in a Ghanaian University hopefully this year.

They advise colleague scholarship seekers not to stall their education due to failure of getting scholarship, adding that, “Inasmuch as you don’t give up on trying, also don’t keep staying at home. Schooling in Ghana is relatively cheaper as compared to abroad. If you don’t get the scholarship or have the money to school abroad, stay here and do it.”

Watch them share their stories in this piece. See link to the full video below:

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