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How To Know If Scholarships Are Legit

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No Proof Of Past Winners

Where to Find Legitimate Scholarships (& Avoid Scholarship Scams)

An easy way to identify fraudulent scholarship programs is by their lack of post-program information. In other words, no winners are ever announced.

Scholarship providers who actually give out money are more than happy to put winners up on their websites for all to see. Its not only great content for social media posts but also provides proof that the scholarship exists.

If Every Person Is Eligible It Should Raise Some Flags

Most scholarships are designed to help a specific niche of students. In most cases, students have to meet a certain set of criteria to be eligible for the scholarship. For example, there are some offered only to specific races and ethnicities, some are for students who participate in sports, and some offer aid to creatives. If you’re applying to a scholarship that is open to every type of student, it is cause for alarm.

How Does Scholarship Owl Work

You must first register to utilize ScholarshipOwl.

“So, I have to fill in my information more than once?” you might wonder.

Nope! The application procedure is the sign-up process. You only have to enter your information once when signing up because it is the same information that will be used to find you scholarships.

Your education level, gender, date of birth, ethnicity, citizenship status, high school , college, subject of study, GPA, career ambition, residence, and a few other details about yourself are among the information required.

After signing up, you’ll be automatically eligible to win their “You Deserve It” Scholarship, which is given out monthly to a 16+ U.S. resident. Fill out our brief scholarship matching quiz to enter.

You should also be able to access the scholarship directory at this point, which will suggest scholarships that “fit” the information you’ve provided.

Each scholarship’s name, deadline, and amount given may be found with a quick glance. To learn more about the scholarship, go to the website that hosts it and click “View T& C.”

Recommended Reading: Out To Innovate Scholarships For Lgbtq+stem Students

Winning A Scholarship You Never Applied For

If you receive any solicitation from a scholarship program that you never applied for, it should alert you. Scholarships are not won without applying, so be wary of free money that is offered to you with no effort. Doing nothing to get a scholarship would be a dream come true, but unfortunately, that is not how it works. Any legitimate program has an application process and when you have to do nothing to apply, this is a sign that it does not have any real offerings is a scam.

Common Scholarship Scams And How To Avoid Them

How do you know if a scholarship is legit?

Fraudulent scholarships can take many forms. If you receive an offer that uses one of these tactics, be suspicious and protect yourself from scholarship scams. If you believe the offer is a scam, report it. Sometimes a scam persists for years before people catch on to it. Even when people realize theyve been cheated, few are stubborn enough to try to take advantage of guarantees or to file a complaint. Learn more: Scholarship Scams: Watch for Red Flags

Scholarships that never materialize. Many scams encourage you to send them money up front but provide little or nothing in exchange. Usually victims write off the expense, thinking that they simply didnt win the scholarship.

Scholarships for profit. This scam looks just like a real scholarship program but requires an application fee. The typical scam receives 5,000 to 10,000 applications and charges fees of $5 to $35. These scams can afford to pay out a $1,000 scholarship or two and still pocket a hefty profit, if they happen to award any scholarships at all. Your odds of winning a scholarship from such scams are less than your chances of striking it rich in the lottery.

The scholarship prize. This scam tells you that youve won a college scholarship worth thousands of dollars, but requires that you pay a disbursement or redemption fee or the taxes before they can release your prize. If someone says youve won a prize and you dont remember entering the contest or submitting an application, be suspicious.

Recommended Reading: Baking And Pastry Arts Scholarships

Scam #: Information Infiltration

The Information Infiltration Scam is common. Fraudsters, at a minimum, may require applicants to complete specific information to be entered into a scholarship drawing or pool.

Likewise, scholarships asking for a lot of identifying information may indicate that they are only doing so for identity theft purposes. You have to be careful about entering your email. Sometimes once theyve got you on their list, its hard to get off!

The point: Be careful when entering into a scholarship drawing or offering any of your familys information such as: Name, Email Address, University Data, Majors, Minors, FAFSA IDs, Credit Card Information, or any other identifying specifics.

If the application sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.

How To Spot And Avoid The Most Common Scholarship Scams

by Gabrielle McCormick | Mar 2, 2020 | Applying for Scholarships, Finding Scholarships, Paying for College |

Advances in technology have created extremely skilled individuals. Identify theft, spam, phishing, and a number of other schemes that have ruined many lives. Make sure that you protect your family from scholarship scams by learning how to spot and avoid the most common types.

Ive seen students receive official-looking documents in the mail encouraging them to log into an account not associated with their university to receive their work-study and scholarship access Ive seen angry parents whove paid good money only to end up the victim of identity theft. Even Ive received numerous emails from an organization that claims to be an honor society but has little evidence to validate this information.

Scammers have gotten good.

Scholarship scams are real and here to stay. Heres the thing:

Scholarships are NOT regulated. Anyone that chooses to give money to a student is free to set up a website, send out emails, or post their information on or offline.

I know several community members who offer scholarships to students. They post the information on their Facebook page or have unattractive websites. Although legitimate, it becomes tricky to decipher whats real and whats not.

So lets get to it. Here are the Top 7 Scholarship Scams.

Read Also: Grants Or Scholarships For Nursing Students

Is Fafsa A Loan Or Free Money

Is the FAFSA a Loan or Free Money? The FAFSA application is not a loan. It is simply an application that you fill out in order to determine your eligibility for receiving a federal loan. There are three main types of financial aid that a student may be deemed eligible for after completing a FAFSA application.

Does everyone get money from fafsa?

Nearly all students who apply qualify for some form of federal financial aid. Its very easy to qualify for aid based on the FAFSA, Barnett says. But filling out the FAFSA can be a confusing, complex process for most families.

How much will fafsa give me?

Type of Aid
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses.

Can I use my fafsa money for a car?

You cannot use student loans to buy a car. You also cant pay for the purchase of a car with financial aid funds. In particular, a qualified education loan is used solely to pay for qualified higher education expenses, which are limited to the cost of attendance as determined by the college or university.

Can I buy a laptop with Pell Grant money?

While many people assume that Pell Grants are just for paying tuition, the funds can be used for much more. Any school-related costs, from room and board, to a new laptop, to travel expenses to and from school can be covered with Pell Grant funds..

Keeping Away From Scams

Niche Scholarship: Yay or Nay?

Keeping away from scams is easy, you just have to know a few simple rules. Do not ever give out your bank account information. This is usually an indication of a scam. Unauthentic scholarships will generally ask you for a fee soon after asking for this information. Another tip is to not give out your social security number. Someone with this information can steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life. Unless you are absolutely certain that a scholarship is legitimate, refrain from providing any personal information like this.

It is always helpful to go to the college you are attending or applying to and seeing which scholarships they list on their website. These will be legit ones you will not need to worry about. With these tips in mind, its a great idea to just search for some background information on whatever you are applying for. The more you know, the less likely you are to be scammed.

Unfortunately, there are many people who will prey on people who do not have all the information they need. You must always stay vigilant when applying for scholarships, so that you do not get caught up in a con. If you simply follow the tips and rules outlined above, you will be safe and on your way to getting a legitimate scholarship.

Also Check: Scholarships In Georgia For Single Mothers

Is Scholarshipowl A Free Service

ScholarshipOwl is a “freemium” service in the sense that it offers some basic services for free while charging for more “premium” capabilities. So, which aspects of ScholarshipOwl are free and which aren’t?

That is an excellent question. It is completely free to create a ScholarshipOwl account and examine your scholarship matches.

The option to apply for scholarships directly from the site, on the other hand, is not .

There are a few different payment plans available, each with its own set of features, costs, and paying intervals. Here’s a basic rundown of what each one entails:

> > > > Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarships

Ignore Immediate Response Requests

Many scammers may ask for an immediate response from you. Such calls get often highlighted with a sense of urgency, and things are left hanging by a thread.

They may ask you to seize the opportunity with quick action like transferring a nominal amount, register on their portal, or give out personal information. Your immediate response in such a case should be ignoring the call.

Also Check: How Do You Apply For Scholarships

Is The Scholarship Listed

It’s always a sign of legitimacy when a scholarship you’re interested in is listed with all of the major scholarship databases. Two reputable places you may check are FastWeb and the College Board, which have some excellent recommendations on sifting through the mass of possibilities. While you shouldn’t take the fact that the scholarship is listed as positive proof it’s a genuine offer, it should help you begin to narrow down your choices.

Check If There Are Any Complaints About Them

Pin en School

If you get tired of the scam website and decide to cancel your account, do a search on the internet for complaints or comments about that particular scholarship website. If you see any negative comments or reviews, then its a good idea to steer clear of that particular scholarship site.

  • Look at their credentials and credentials of their directors and advisors as well. Legitimate scholarship websites are required to display their information in both the US and Canadian versions of Who.
  • Don’t Miss: What Is Need Based Scholarship

    Verify Organization’s Source Of Information

    Most organizations that approach you for scholarships will notify a reputable source as the basis for your credentials. Always ask and verify their origin for example, they might suggest that the College Board’s database had your information.

    You need to be wary of such approaches as college boards only release the information to colleges and other educational institutes. Most probably, these scammers got your data from a coded script that mines data on the Internet. They might feed you this information when they approach you through phone or email.

    How Do You Know If A Scholarship Is Legit

    2:43 pm By ScholarshipEssays

    With the abundance of scholarships advertised, its hard to from fake ones. Today, students in-boxes are littered with scam and junk mail, promising money. As a desperate parent or student, in dire need of aid paying for college, you may look past some warning signs if it means potential assistance. The rising cost of college tuition doesnt make the situation better. If you dont have enough money saved up, youre faced with having to take out student loans, which can take decades to repay. Its no wonder that so many young, inexperienced people fall for scams claiming they can help. Sadly, not everyone knows what to look for let alone how to know if a scholarship is legit or not.

    In 2019 alone, The Federal Trade Commission reported that they received 725 complaints related to grant and scholarship fraud. However, since everyone doesnt file a complaint with the FTC, this number is not a true indication of the actual incidents of people who were defrauded. Clearly, there is a substantial issue when it comes to scholarship and grant fraud. This could mean at best, a headache, and at worst, a serious dilemma for the unaware.

    Thankfully, there are ways to spot legitimate scholarships from the shams. There are common themes when it comes to scholarship scams that can help you decode them.

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    How To Spot And Avoid Scams

    Scammers can be very crafty and scholarship scams may be difficult to spot, especially when youre ever so hopeful that someone really does want to help you pay for your education. Here are some tips for spotting and avoiding these types of schemes.

    Heres how to avoid Scholarship scams:

  • Question if its too good to be true
  • Be wary of a sense of urgency
  • The promise of exclusive information should be a red flag
  • Question money-back guarantees
  • Is Scholarshipowl Worth It

    How to search for scholarships LIKE A PRO with ScholarshipOwl | Finding Scholarships 101

    This is pretty subjective. Whether or not ScholarshipOwl is worth the price depends on whether you value your time or money more . ScholarshipOwl allows students to more quickly start and finish their scholarship application process and keep track of their submissions.

    However, after having perused my fair share of scholarship websites, I now know that ScholarshipOwl is not the only website of its kind . Well get into alternatives soon, but for now, we would recommend ScholarshipOwls free version. You may not be able to apply directly to scholarships on the website this way, but we promise you its truly not that bad to manually fill out scholarship applications. If you get bored while filling out the same information again and again, maybe consider listening to some music or a podcast while doing so.

    Now, lets get into the alternatives!

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    There Should Be No Fees Involved

    You should never, ever have to pay any money in order to apply for a scholarship. If a fee is requested, that is a frequent warning sign that the people you’re dealing with are not honest. Some con artists collect scholarship application fees, distribute one very small award by means of a lottery system and then keep the remainder of the cash sent to them by unsuspecting students. That is legal, just barely, but not legitimate.

    Requests For Financial Information

    During the scholarship application process, its not unusual for you to provide your name, address and some additional details about your education . However, the application should never ask for your banking or credit card information.

    Even if you are selected as a winner, theres no need for this information. Most scholarship providers send the funds directly to your colleges business office for processing.

    Recommended Reading: National Military Family Association Scholarship

    Beware Of Scholarship Scams

    Scholarship scams are a form of fraud where the scam promises to provide college scholarships. Most scholarship scams seek to get students and their families to pay money to the scammer, but some scams involve identity theft.

    If you have to pay money to get money, it is most definitely a scam. Never invest more than a postage stamp to get information about scholarships or to apply for a scholarship.

    Signs of a Scholarship Scam

    These are some of the most common characteristics of scholarship scams:

    Scholarship scams often contain spelling and grammar errors. They may have a mailing address that is a P.O. Box or a mail drop. They often do not have telephone numbers. There are several additional signs of fraudulent scholarship matching services:

    Also, watch out for scams that offer a free seminar or a one-on-one interview. Both are nothing more than a high-pressure sales pitch for a product or service.

    Other types of financial aid scams include the advance-fee loan scam, where you are charged an up-front fee to obtain a student loan, refinance a student loan, change repayment plans, postpone loan payments or qualify for loan forgiveness.

    How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

    If a scholarship charges a fee, ignore it. Real scholarships dont charge any fees! Use a free scholarship matching service, like Cappex Scholarships, which does not include any scholarships that charge application fees or other types of fees.

    How to Report a Scholarship Scam

    What Is The Best Website For Scholarships

    Pin on Scholarships

    If we had to choose just one website, wed choose the Career OneStop Database of scholarships, hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor.

    A close second is the CollegeBoard search engine we mentioned earlier.

    Both of these nonprofit resources list a huge mass of scholarships, and the other sites arent able to match the size of these scholarship databases.

    Among the more modern scholarship sites, our favorite is Bold.org, which has a clean feel, some exclusive scholarships, and the ability to view all their available scholarships without logging in.

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    How To Tell If A Scholarship Is A Scam

    Did you apply for the scholarship?

    A dead giveaway for a potential scam is if you dont recall applying for the scholarship thats trying to claim you won. During scholarship season, make sure youre keeping track of all the places youve applied to. This is good not only for spotting scams but also so you can follow up with places when necessary.

    Its highly unlikely for you to get an unapplied-for scholarship since most scholarships are highly contested and require some sort of application in order to process those who qualify for them. Plus, legitimate places have a lot of applicants and they wont be able to reach out to those who didnt initially apply.

    When you receive a scholarship offer from a place you didnt apply to, search them up online to see who they are. More likely than not, youll find some questionable aspects to the site that you may recognize as one of the common scams listed in the previous section.

    The name of the scholarship

    Beware of time pressure scams

    A lot of scams try to capitalize on lowering the amount of time youll have to consider whether theyre legitimate or not. You may see that an email urges you to pay the fee as soon as possible so you can claim a scholarship, or they may tell you an application deadline is coming up and youll need to pay now to reserve a spot. Some may even tell you that awards are first come first served.

    Guaranteed grants/scholarships

    Open to everyone

    No past winners

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