Posted By Godwin Onyemaechi
As the tussle between the federal government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU extends over a six-month period, there’s been increased enthusiasm amongst students seeking to further their studies outside the country.
However, with Proof of Funds (PoF) as a requirement to issue visa at the embassy, a lot of Nigerians consider this a bias to studying in countries like Canada, the US, UK and others.
Proof of fund is an evidence, usually in the form of a bank, security or custody statement that shows a person is able to cover expenses for a stated period of time. This is usually in the form of documentation that certifies that an individual or institution has sufficient funds to complete a transaction.
Fundamentally, it is the proof that shows students have sufficient chance to maintain their scholarship in future years and have sufficient liquid assets to pay for all of the future year costs to obtain their intended college degree.
While the statement is usually issued by a commercial bank or custody agent to provide confidence or assurance to the Visa Officer, it is important that students follow the legal way to obtaining their proof of fund to avoid ruining their chances of getting a visa.
The good news is that those who do not have the required funding in their account to provide as PoF can consider healthy alternatives without necessarily breaking the bank. Nairametrics outlines five legal alternatives to proof funds for students looking to study abroad;
1. Scholarship letter
Admissions on scholarship – especially fully funded scholarship that covers living expenses – has a lot of advantages over those that are not. Those receiving support from a scholarship agency can attach an official scholarship letter that explains the terms and the amounts of the award.
Also, companies sponsoring scholarships can provide a statement that indicates they have the amount currently available. For scholarships that are not fully funded, however, students may need to show officials that they have cash or promise of cash to pay the remainder of that cost not covered by your scholarship.
2. Study loan
Students can apply for loans from companies and platforms that offer loans to international students and present the letter by the loan company to serve as PoF. Meanwhile, it is essential that students understand the terms and conditions given by any platforms they are dealing with and also check through to ensure they meet the criteria required by lenders; which in most cases, includes having a creditworthy cosigner or being enrolled at least half time at an eligible school.
Notably, lenders that do not require a cosigner usually put into consideration the potential of the borrower, for example, some lenders consider students’ career path and income potential to qualify them for a student loan without a cosigner or collateral.
Students who are on partial scholarship tuition fees basically can also apply for loans to cover the remaining expenses.
- Sponsors’ account
When it comes to presenting PoF for the purpose of international travel, a lot of people believe that it has much to do with their personal account, however, this is not the case.
The essence of the statement of account presented as proof of fund is to show that students will be able to cover basic expenses while studying in their preferred country of choice. On this basis, students intending to study abroad do not need to have the required large sum in their account if they have a sponsor who has up to the required amount in their account.
Sponsors, preferably ones with close ties such as parents, or siblings, will need to write a letter explaining why they are willing to invest in one’s education as well as evidence of the relationship.
- Gift Deed
Gift Deed is another option close to using sponsor’s account. A gift deed acts as documentary evidence of the act of gifting.
In this case, if a friend or family member sends a bulk amount into your account or will property to you before you obtain your statement of account, then you have to draft an explanation attributable to this person which effectively assures the Visa Officer that the money has been gifted to you for valid reasons.
Notably, students who have sponsors that are close relatives like parents or siblings, don’t necessarily need a gift deed as their Affidavit of sponsorship or sponsorship letter in addition to a bank statement will be considered.
- Defer admission
This is usually the last option to consider when other options are not viable. Admission can always be deferred till the following year or next. This is to allow students to build their accounts and save up to the required amount.
While this may seem like a difficult thing to do, considering the whole effort put into securing admission, it is way better than having to go about the illegal way just to shore up money in the account.