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How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

Taylor Miranda



The Dictionary says...

A scholarship is defined as "a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies."
Thankfully, unlike federal or private loans, you do NOT repay scholarship a wards or grants!  

1. Research + Tips

Fact: Scholarships usually have more than one requirement (e.g. GPA of 3.0 and above, an essay, etc.)! 
  • Try looking through scholarships on Unigo, CollegeBoard, or FastWeb 
  • Try looking for student-specific scholarships and grants on College Scholarships 
  • Apply to as many as possible and keep track of what each required (e.g. High school transcripts, two-page essay, etc.) 

2. Warning Signs

Fact: You should never, ever, EVER pay for an application fee for a scholarship. Watch out for these other red flags: 

  • The scholarship award requires a "disbursement" or "redemption" fee
  • The scholarship award is not issued by a bank or other recognized lender
  • The scholarship award is sent as a check you must reimburse for "taxes" or "shipping and handling" 
  • An organization absolutely guarantees finding you a scholarship or your money back
  • An organization offers a "free seminar" that turns out to be more of a "fair" for financial aid consulting services, investment products, scholarship matching services, and overpriced student loans  

3. Protect Yourself 

You can never be too careful! If the call, email, or online offer seems suspicious, trust your gut instinct.  

  • Don't respond to unsolicited offers, esp
  • Keep track of which scholarships you applied for and what they required (e.g. Essay, transcripts, etc.) 
  • Ignore offers that have a "time limit" or "expiration date" 
  • Check the organization's credentials (e.g. If it was founded just last year, don't trust it!)
  • Get written proof of the rules and restrictions before committing to any sort of application and/or recieving the scholarship award

Interested in transferring to Angeles Institute? Check out our NEW Transfer Guide! 

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Related Posts

"Financial Aid 101: Terms You Should Know" 

"Vocational Nursing Scholarships" 

"How to Avoid For-Profit College Scams"


Washington Post

Common Scholarship Scams

Warning Signs of a Scholarship Scam

How to Protect and Avoid Yourself from Scholarship Scams


*Note: This was not a sponsored post by any of the listed scholarship websites listed above. 


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