No. 1: Beware Scholarship "Prizes
If you receive a notice by mail or phone claiming you've
"won" a scholarship award or prize --RUN AWAY!
FAST! Before you can claim your money, you need to
pay a fee. Don't buy it for a minute. Legitimate
scholarships aren't awarded by entering contests or
drawing entries out of a hat!
No. 2: You Know It's a Scam if ...
The company offers to apply for scholarships on your behalf. Legitimate
scholarships require you to apply yourself.
The offer claims everyone is eligible. Legitimate scholarships set
criteria that you must meet to even be considered. Some
set of restrictions always applies.
You receive a phone call announcing you are eligible
for, or have been awarded, a scholarship. Almost
all legitimate scholarships will notify you by mail.
No. 3: Never Pay an Upfront Fee to Apply
Never, EVER pay an upfront fee to apply for a
scholarship. Chances are, it's a scam and you'll never
see your money again. These scams look like real
scholarships programs, and may even grant a small $500
or $1,000 "scholarship" or two to make them sound
credible. These companies don't lose that money --they
pocket thousands of dollars thanks to the upfront fees
No. 4: You Don't Need a Matchmaker
pay for scholarship matching, search or consulting
services. Most are a waste of money. Some are a total
rip-off. You can access the very same information online
No. 5: No Guarantees in Life
The worst scholarship matching "services" make all kinds
of false promises. The most common is guaranteeing to
find you a scholarship. No one can promise you will be
awarded or qualify for a scholarship. Most mean they'll
just finding you a match --not the scholarship itself.
No. 6: Beware Loans Disguised as Scholarships
Loans must be repaid. Scholarships aren't. These scams
ask you to apply for a scholarship after paying an
application fee. After paying the fee, the company will
disappear OR you'll find out the scholarship application
only qualified you for a loan. Legitimate educational
loans never require an upfront fee.
No. 7: "Free" Scholarship Seminars
Most of these seminars are just a high-pressured pitch
to buy something, such as a fee-based consulting
service, college savings, investing tool, or an
overpriced student loan.
No. 8: Psst … I Know People
Run away -- fast! -- from offers that promise access to "exclusive", "private" or "unique" scholarship
information. And don't believe any offer that says it
has influence with scholarship sponsors. They don't.
Another common lie: "our scholarship database is the
No. 9: Warning! Danger Ahead
If a scholarship application or phone rep asks for
confidential information (social security, credit card,
bank account numbers, etc.) -- tear up the app or slam
down the phone. This is the oldest identity theft scam
in the book. No legitimate scholarship will ask for
such information on an application.
No. 10: Your Secret Weapon Against Scams
We hope revealing these scams help you avoid them. But
when in doubt, just show the scholarship offer to your
school guidance counselor or a college financial aid
officer. These folks are can spot scams a mile away.
Ask them to help point you to legitimate