Scholarships are an attractive way to help manage college costs. Your child won't have to repay them (like loans) or work to maintain them (like work-study). Since students and parents are so eager to find these funds, it's no wonder that they become easy targets for financial aid con artists.
Many scholarship finders promote the adage that "millions of dollars in private scholarship money goes unused every year." The fact is, nearly all available financial aid comes from the federal government or from individual colleges.
Often private scholarships are slated for very specific applicants, such as students with a particular career interest, or members of a certain church or organization. These institutions have created funds for students, so they are eager to give them to qualified individuals. They are not interested in keeping the money a secret.
You and your child can easily find out about these opportunities by checking with your employer and other appropriate institutions. Have your child make the contact with clubs or other organizations to find out what they seek in an applicant. Your child's high school counselor can also provide information on scholarships.
According to the Federal Trade Commission's Scholarship Scams, if you or your child hears these lines from a scholarship service, you may be getting duped:
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