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Where to Find College Scholarships and How to Avoid Scams

Posted on Dec 14th 2018

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Where to Find College Scholarships and How to Avoid Scams


One of the largest financial burdens of a lifetime is the expense of college, so when the time comes to pay for college families are eager to reduce their cost. Before you start applying for all of these outside scholarships to help reduce the cost you want to understand the implications that it can have on federal aid as well as the grants and scholarships received from the school. Read on for advice from our college scholarship service.

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How to Be Informed

  • You want to contact each college to find out their view on outside scholarships.
  • Make sure to ask if outside scholarships reduce gift aid (grants and scholarships) or self-help aid (loans and work-study), and by how much.
  • It is important to know if the outside scholarship is a one-time scholarship or a renewal scholarship, and what are the effects on your financial aid package in each situation.

You need to realize that for the majority of students, the bulk of financial aid is going to come through the school. For this reason, Ducerus recommends this as the first place that needs to be researched during the search for additional resources to pay for college. Most scholarships that come from the schools are applied for as part of the application process. There is a small number of campus scholarships that do require a separate application. We advise that you also look beyond the general scholarships and look at things like the departmental scholarships. Some of these specialty scholarships may be something that can be added on as freshman or may have to wait until you are an upper classman... so once you enter college continue to seek out scholarship opportunities.

If you decide that you want to pursue outside scholarships, you should to be aware that there are a lot of scams out there, so be cautious. Some organizations find innovative ways to take your money. Know what to look out for when doing scholarship searches.

Be Aware of These Scams

  • If they claim things like, "for a fee we provide a comprehensive list of scholarships,"
    • Do not spend your money on a fee-based matching service.
  • Attention grabbing statements like, "millions of dollars of award monies go unclaimed."
    • Statements about funding going unclaimed are simply untrue. If funds are available, students will compete for them.
  • Scholarship programs that, "have a guarantee" or claim that "everyone is a winner."
    • Legitimate scholarships are always competitive. No one can guarantee that you will win a scholarship.
  • Any scholarship requiring information like, "we need your credit card or bank account number."
    • No legitimate scholarship should require your credit card or bank account numbers.
  • Finally, the ones that seem too good to be true, saying things like, "we will do all the work."
    • To receive a scholarship, students must complete the applications and essays themselves. No one else can do the work for them.

Key Elements of Finding Legitimate Scholarship Opportunities

There are many great resources for college scholarships you just must be willing to put in the time and effort to do the leg work.

College is enough of a financial burden that you do not want to make a bad decision which could end up costing you more. Be careful when doing your research and use reputable sites for college searches and contact your local Ducerus office for additional information specific to you and your situation!

*Ducerus does not endorse, sponsor or benefit from the above recommendations for use, we are simply providing information to kick start your college scholarship search!