Beware of Scholarship & Financial Aid Scams

Scams happen every day; over the phone via telemarketers, as award offer letters in your mail and email, and on numerous websites. When you are searching and applying for scholarships, be cautious of any company or organization that charges a fee for its services. Applying for legitimate scholarships and financial aid is free.

Never Pay for Scholarships

  • Avoid any scholarship that asks for application fees, search fees, or processing fees.
  • Do not pay taxes or fees to the organization after receiving a scholarship.
  • Avoid services that “guarantee aid.” The aid you are offered is usually much lower than the fee you pay for the service.
  • Never give out financial information like bank or credit card account numbers unless you know the organization you’re giving it to is reputable.
  • Ask us if you are unsure about a scholarship. Call, email, or stop by our office in the Regent Administrative Center.

Never Pay for the FAFSA

Some companies will charge a fee to help you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Remember that the FAFSA is free. If you are completing the FAFSA on a website that asks for credit card information, you are not on the official government site. The official website is fafsa.ed.gov. To prevent identity theft, never give your PIN, which serves as your electronic signature, to anyone. If you need help completing your FAFSA, our financial aid office offers video tutorials and in-person assistance.

Resources

Example of a Scholarship Scam

In the months leading up to the beginning of class, a fraudulent company began sending scholarship checks to college students. The letter that accompanied the checks claimed that the students had won a scholarship and that all they needed to do is send their company a check to pay taxes. When students went to cash their scholarship checks, they bounced leaving the student to cover the costs.

Don’t let this happen to you. Never pay for a scholarship. If you receive a scholarship from a company or organization that you do not remember filling out an application for, it is likely scam.