Where to look for aid
Scholarships are free money. You do not need to repay them.
They can be based on merit, financial need or other criteria. You should start your scholarship search at least one year before you plan to attend school.
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A scholarship offer is asking for money. What should I do?
You should not pay. This can mean the offer is not legitimate.
There are different ways companies can scam you. These include:
- Promising you free scholarship money in exchange for an up-front fee.
- Claiming to have access to untapped sources of financial aid. They will charge you for information on various scholarship awards. You can find this same information online for free.
- Sending letters in the mail that promote "free financial aid seminars" or "open interviews" for financial assistance. The real purpose of the event is to promote unnecessary products and/or services.
Where should I check for free scholarships?
There are many free ways to get scholarships. These include:
- Your high school guidance office
- Organizations —You should check with local organizations first. Your competition for local scholarships is less than national scholarships. Examples of organizations include Lions Club, Jaycees and Kiwanis.
- Places of employment —Contact the personnel administrator to find out if the company offers any sort of financial aid, tuition reimbursement or scholarships.
- Volunteer work —Local hospitals, food banks and other organizations may provide scholarships in recognition of unpaid assistance.
- Unions —All major labor unions offer scholarships for members and their dependent children.
- Chambers of commerce —Many chambers of commerce offer small grants to students in the community. They often offer these grants to students who are studying business and public service. These grants are typically less than $500.
- The Internet —Visit www.fastweb.com. Do a general search under keywords such as "financial aid," "student aid," "scholarships," etc.
- Newspapers —Read your local newspaper every day. Look for announcements of local students receiving scholarships. These are most popular during the summer.