Watch Out For Scholarship Scams: Some are Real, Some are Not

Most college students faces the problem of student loans. Some students qualify for the Pell Grant however in most instances if does not cover the entire cost of college. This means once you graduate there will be loans to repay. Many students search for scholarships to apply for so that some of the burden will be lifted. Some scholarships are legitimate while others are complete scams. The saying “Buyer beware.” Applies to scholarships and should stay “students beware.”  Be sure to take note of signs that a scholarship is actually a scam.

Most scholarships that you find online sadly are scams, they may seem like legitimate sites but you waste a lot of time filling out applications that never produce any results. Most college students don’t have a lot of time to waste.

Many of the scholarship sites have a form for you to fill out at first giving them your personal information.  Once you fill that out you are sent to a page where you have to agree to have a specific college contact you. I have wondered why they have to call you, what if you are already enrolled in college and don’t need a phone call from a college? My opinion is that the college is linked to the scam so they gain more traffic to their school.

The worst are the scholarship sites that require you to answer a bunch of questions and then direct you to a page that asks for your cell phone number. Be especially aware of the fine print. Many of these sites will charge your cell phone a monthly fee to help find scholarships that they really don’t even help you find. You do not realize this until the charge shows up on your phone bill. Always read the fine print!

There are some legitimate scholarships available. I found one online. It is the Gallery Collection Create a Greeting Card Scholarship Contest. I have entered it every year for six years. I have never won but know it is legitimate. They do not charge a fee to enter and they post winners each year. You simply create a greeting card and submit the card in the contest.

Other scholarships to look for are scholarships that your local businesses offer. Every town has businesses that offer scholarships to young adults and also adults who are returning to school after several years.  Call around and find out what businesses in your community offer scholarships.

Be very careful when looking for scholarships. Don’t trust most of the online offers because most of them are scams. If they instantly direct you to a specific college or are connected to a specific college they are not legitimate. Also read the fine print to make sure that they will not charge your cell number or better yet, don’t enter a cell number. Legitimate sites won’t require one. Always remember “Student beware” before applying for a scholarship.

Picture by Flickr


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