How to avoid scholarship scams

When students are applying to Christian colleges and universities, they may find that there are many scholarship opportunities, which can make paying for school much easier. While many of these financial aid options are legitimate, students should be careful to avoid those that are not. Using the tips below, individuals who plan to attend Christian colleges can get a better sense of which scholarships they should avoid.

• Scholarships are always free – When browsing for financial aid opportunities, students may come across a few that say they have application fees, or ask for a sum of money to reserve individuals’ spot for the scholarship. This should make degree seekers wary. Legitimate scholarships are always free, and will never ask applicants to give them money.

• Financial aid is never guaranteed – While scholarships can be a great way to pay for tuition at Christian colleges and universities, students have to do something to deserve them. Whether they excel at sports, have high GPAs or show a strong commitment to community service, applicants are given scholarships for a reason. Therefore, if individuals come across a scholarship that says they are guaranteed to receive money, they should avoid applying, as this could be a scam.

Legitimate scholarships won’t request unusual personal information – A scholarship is probably a scam if it asks for overly personal information. Of course, a scholarship application may request a student’s name, GPA, college, future goals, etc. However, a legitimate scholarship will never ask for students’ credit card, social security or bank account number.

• Programs should have solid contact information – Typically, legitimate scholarships give students telephone numbers they can call if they have questions. Additionally, they will normally provide an authentic address for students to send their applications. If students look up the address and see that it leads to a home or mail drop, they should be concerned.

• Students apply for scholarships themselves – Some organizations may tell students that they will apply for scholarships for them, or that they offer a scholarship that does not even need an application. These claims are probably bogus. In order to qualify for a scholarship, students need to send in an application. Ultimately, degree seekers should keep in mind that when financial aid opportunities sound too good to be true, they probably are.

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