A Kenyan scholar is counting losses after she lost Ksh239,688 to an online university based in the United States of America which offered her a scholarship to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
Speaking to Nola.com, the Kenyan national disclosed that in her quest to further her master’s education, she began searching for an online university when she came across the City University of New Orleans.
She was elated to receive admission and was offered a scholarship. After doing a background check, she agreed to pay Ksh204,111 – which was part of a discounted tuition fee.
Graduands attend a graduation ceremony organised by a Kenyan University.
Twitter A man purporting to be the school’s administrator assured her that she would be attending her classes virtually. However, she hit a snag even before her classes began – she had been locked out of the system after she moved her location from Oman to kenya.
Upon enquiry, the ‘administrator’ explained that her change of location caused an invalidation of her admission and that she needed to top up an extra Ksh34,976 for fresh registration.
However, to date, she is yet to attend a single class. Furthermore, the institution has tried to reach her multiple times, not to sort out her issues, but to ask her for more money.
“It was not just the money. It was my dream shattering into pieces,” she told journalist Marie Fazio.
The victim admitted that she thought that CUNO was a constituent of the University of New Orleans (UNO). On the contrary, UNO’s Spokesperson Adam Norris dismissed any association with the online institution.
Norris added that UNO had received complaints from several students who had been duped to pay for an online degree. He opined that the striking similarity of the features used on CUNO’s website.
“The University of New Orleans is concerned that CUNO is using UNO’s name recognition and visual identity to mislead and prey upon unsuspecting students and families in an attempt to assert its legitimacy and entice payment,” he added.
A spot check by Kenyans.co.ke reveals that CUNO misses out on the list of registered physical and online universities in America while UNO is registered and is ranked at position 457.
In addition, the images used on the online campus website, upon a reverse search, were established not to be the property of CUNO. The sprouting of online universities has opened a window for fraudsters to target unsuspecting scholars, and swindle their money.
How to spot a fake online university
1. Research the name of the university online and its reviews.
2. Check the accreditation status of the university and the institution granting the listing.
3. Look out for the application process. Most processes are long and tedious.
4. Look out for universities demanding tuition fees upfront.
5. Check on the availability of resources and contact information.
Kenyans.co.ke digital journalist John Mbati at work
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