Scholarship Search Services
These scholarship search databases list scholarship programs that offer portable scholarships - those that can be taken to any college. Other databases list awards but most require attendance at a particular college or university.
- Affordable Colleges Online (Scholarships for Women) - http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/womens-guide-paying-for-college/
- Cappex - https://www.cappex.com/scholarships/
- College Board - https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search
- College Scholarships - http://www.college-scholarships.com/free_scholarship_searches.htm
- Fast Web - http://www.fastweb.com/
- Good Call - http://www.goodcall.com/
- Money Geek - http://www.moneygeek.com/education/scholarship-search/
- ScholarSwag - http://www.communityforce.com/swag-specific-provider/
It is not recommended that you apply for scholarships that require the payment of a fee. Also, do not provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, to any organization unless you are certain that the information is being used for a legitimate purpose.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, unscrupulous companies guarantee or promise scholarships, grants or fantastic financial aid packages. Many use high pressure sales pitches at seminars where you're required to pay immediately or risk losing out on the "opportunity." Some unscrupulous companies guarantee that they can get scholarships on behalf of students or award them "scholarships" in exchange for an advance fee. Most offer a "money back guarantee"- but attach conditions that make it impossible to get the refund. Others provide nothing for the student's advance fee - not even a list of potential sources; still others tell students they've been selected as "finalists" for awards that require an up-front fee. Sometimes, these companies ask for a student's checking account to "confirm eligibility," then debit the account without the student's consent. Other companies quote only a relatively small "monthly" or "weekly" fee and then ask for authorization to debit your checking account - for an undetermined length of time. The FTC cautions students to look and listen for these tell-tale lines:
- "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
- "You can't get this information anywhere else."
- "I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship."
- "We'll do all the work."
- "The scholarship will cost some money."
- "You've been selected" by a "national foundation" to receive a scholarship - or "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered.
If you attend a seminar on financial aid or scholarships, follow these steps:
- Take your time. Don't be rushed into paying at the seminar. Avoid high-pressure sales pitches that require you to buy now or risk losing out on the opportunity. Solid opportunities are not sold through nerve-racking tactics.
- Investigate the organization you're considering paying for help. Talk to a guidance counselor or financial aid advisor before spending your money. You may be able to get the same help for free.
- Be wary of "success stories" or testimonials of extraordinary success.
For more information on scholarship scams, visit FinAid - the Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid.