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  University of Oslo not offering fully funded scholarship as claimed in viral WhatsApp message

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Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims Oslo University is offering a fully funded scholarship to study free in Norway.

This message is false and misleading. University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships as claimed.

Full Text

Fraudulent websites offering fully funded scholarships to international students have become quite common and this is because fall admission season is upon us. 

Dubawa has conducted fact checks on similar links offering fully funded scholarships to international students. In one case, Abu Dhabi University was said to be offering fully-funded scholarships while another that was fact checked claimed the Australian Government is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at the University of Western Australia.

The incessant strike in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions in recent times have resulted in students looking for greener pastures by studying abroad. Sadly, not all Nigerians can afford the huge fees and cost of living that studying abroad requires; some students have to rely on scholarships.

Recently, a viral WhatsApp message claimed Norway is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at Oslo University.

It says the scholarship will cover full tuition fee, living allowance, accommodation, medical facilities, traveling allowance, unlimited work permit. The massage ended with a link, https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021, where applicants can apply.

“APPLY FOR NORWAY SCHOLARSHIP 2021, FULLY FUNDED SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY FOR FREE IN OSLO UNIVERSITY.*

*It takes a few seconds to apply. Dont miss this opportunity.*

*Benfits of NORWAY 2021 scholarship Program.*

*The scholarship will cover.*

-Full Tuition Fee

-Living Allowance

-Acoomodation

-Medical Facilities

-Traveling Allowance

-Unlimited Work Permit.

*APPLY HERE*

https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021”

A screenshot of the WhatsApp message

Verification

Dubawa first noticed that the message contained grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of certain letters that compromised its authenticity. Benefit was spelt as ‘Benfit’ and accommodation’ was spelt as ‘acoommodation’.   

After clicking the bit.ly link, the website was redirected to https://scholarsintel.online/Norway/. The new website has a welcome message which says “Study in Norway With Course of Your Choice For Free through-out The years of program. The Oslo University Scholarship Program Enables International Students to Study in Norway Comfortably and Free. Applicants are to fill the form bellow and click on Apply 👇👇👇.”

A screenshot of the landing page the website

The form requested applicants to fill in their full names, course, email address, country and also if they have applied before.

Dubawa provided wrong information in order to access other pages and was led to another website.

The new website reads: “CONGRATULATIONS

“Your application for the on going NORWAY scholarship has been received.To proceed to next page where you will select universities of your choice. Answer the following three questions to acquire your immediately! [1]

“[1] Answer the following three questions to Continue!

  1. What is Your Current Level Of Study?
  2. Choose Your Age Range?
  3.  Which State Are You Intrested In?
A screenshot of the congratulatory message

After answering the questions, a message popped up immediately, saying that the application “has been approved for free” and that the applicant should fill the visa application form below.

Applicants are then asked to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to obtain the visa form.

A screenshot of the page asking users to share information

Also, an image with the caption “UIO: International Summer School University of Oslo” can be seen at the upper part of the page.

A screenshot of the image

Analysis using Domingdata, a web tool used to verify website ownership, revealed that the website has  IP geolocation of United States, California, Sun City and has several abuse reports.

A screenshot of analysis using domingdata

University of Oslo International Summer School

The University of Oslo International Summer School usually offers a number of scholarships and grants but only through this website https://www.uio.no/english/studies/summerschool/admission/scholarships/ as opposed to the one in the viral WhatsApp message.

For 2021, scholarships were only awarded to the Norwegian language summer courses (NORA) and the scholarship covers only the course fee. Also, the application ended in March 2021.

Conclusion

Findings have shown that the University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships to International students. This message is false and misleading. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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