How to identify fraudulent study abroad agents in Nigeria
Nigeria is the number one country of origin for international students from Africa: It sends the most students overseas of any country on the African continent, and outbound mobility numbers are growing at a rapid pace. According to data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the number of Nigerian students abroad increased by 164 percent in the decade between 2005 and 2015 alone– from 26,997 to 71,351. For this reason there has been a huge demand for the services of international education consultants or study abroad agencies, some of who take undue advantage of the students who want to study outside of the country. Here is how to identify fraudulent study abroad agents.
Here are the key ways to spot a fake study abroad agency,
- Be careful with agents that promise guaranteed admission as they are not officially authorized to provide admissions to students. It is always the admissions committee selected by the college / university that has the authority to admit or reject the application. Also, keep in mind that universities always inform students about the status of their application, whether accepted or rejected.
- There are thousand of universities abroad who are not accredited or recognized, some agents send students to unrecognized universities. Be sure to verify that the university / university you are applying to is an institution recognized by the corresponding authority in that country, and that the university in recognized by the Ministry of Education in Nigeria.
- Some Agencies my claim to give students a guaranteed visa. Never believe any study abroad agent who claims the ability to give you guaranteed visa or guaranteed admission. Agents make false statements to students that they can secure visas with their links at the embassy. Here, applicants should know that the Embassy of the country in question is the only authority that can issue a student visa to students and no agent can do so, agents can only provide assistance, not guarantees.
- Be weary of agencies who engage in fraudulent activities, Sometimes, education agents either advice you to or help you send fake academic or bank documents to the embassy / university that lead to that candidate’s blacklist later.
- Always be sure to verify all necessary details related to the tuition fees, accommodation fees, or work opportunities on campus and other facilities on the official website of the college / university and do not simply follow what the agents claim. Agents can confuse students about all these details. some agents may go as far as inflating the fees to make a profit.
Whenever you visit or come in contact with an education consultant, you should endeavor to make the following inquiries:
- Before hiring the services of education consultants for your services, check the reviews, testimonials and qualifications of the agency to which you will apply. Many students feel stuck after paying money in advance to their agents and are not satisfied with the services of their agents. Ask to know if they are a registered company with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), if they have the necessary industry certifications such as British Council, The Quality International Study Abroad Network (QISAN), Professional International Education Resources (PIER), International Consultants for Education and Fairs (ICEF), Association of Agents for Overseas Studies Recruitment of Nigeria (AAFOSRON) etc.
- Make sure they have operating offices, some fraudulent agencies have no known offices, Carpa Education consultants operate from registered offices and communicate with students through official email identifiers that have the email address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” or registered phone numbers and never use your personal identifiers (for example, Gmail or Yahoo identifiers).
- Generally, smaller study abroad companies who may sometimes be fake agents parade themselves as representatives of a bigger company in order to deceive students claiming to be an established study abroad consultant / agent. Be careful with such fraud agents and remember to verify your credentials before signing up for their services.