What are the most common scholarship scams? How do I avoid them?

Finances and Aid

Our Counselors Answered:

What are the most common scholarship scams? How do I avoid them?

王文君 June Scortino
PresidentIVY Counselors Network

Please do not use online paid search website to seek scholarships. Therefore, try not to release your personal info unless the website belongs to professional organizations.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid
Expert & Author
Payless for College, Inc.

Paying for the opportunity to apply is the most common, so don’t pay first.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School,
College Counselor
Ravenscroft School

While it is easy to oversimplify the scholarship game, there is a very simple rule of thumb that those seeking aid–but also seeking to avoid being ripped off–should be aware of. For instance, if you have to pay, then you do not want to play. Even an entry fee form a “contest” is money going to the organizers and not to scholarships and/or aid. Yes, this is perhaps oversimplified, but it is a time honored guideline that one is wise to follow. Lots of people are willing to try and profit off the angst that paying for college produces and applicants and their families must be wary of those profiteers.

Nancy Milne
OwnerMilne Collegiate Counseling

You should NEVER have to pay to apply for a scholarship. It is also easy to get the feeling that there is a lot of money waiting to be won, but often there is only one fortunate recipient and tons of candidates. Before disclosing any personal information, do your homework. Also, check out the source of the award, talk to your college counselor, be thorough in your research and don’t do anything in a hurry. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Zahir Robb
College CounselorThe Right Fit College

If you receive an unsolicited request or are asked to pay for a scholarship, stay away. Most importantly, protect your personal information and go to your financial aid office to get reliable scholarship assistance.