Scholarship Scams: How to Spot and Avoid Them

scam alert letting text on black background
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on


The search for scholarships to pay for college can be overwhelming, and unfortunately, scammers take advantage of this. Says Robert Stravinsky, scholarship scams can be costly and detrimental to your finances and education. In this article, we will discuss how to spot and avoid scholarship scams.

Upfront Fees:

One of the biggest red flags of a scholarship scam is an upfront fee. Legitimate scholarships never require an upfront fee for students to apply. Scammers may ask for money to cover application fees or processing fees, but in reality, these fees do not exist. It’s important to read the fine print and carefully investigate any organization that requires money upfront.


Legitimate scholarship programs do not guarantee students will receive the scholarship. Scholarship scammers may promise guaranteed scholarships or easy money. Be wary of these claims, as no scholarship program can guarantee a student will receive the scholarship.

Unsolicited Offers:

Be cautious of unsolicited scholarship offers. Scammers may use email, text messages, or phone calls to offer scholarships to students who did not apply for them. Legitimate scholarships are typically advertised through a school’s financial aid office or reputable scholarship search engines.

Personal Information Requests:

Scholarship scammers may ask for personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account information, or credit card numbers. Legitimate scholarships will not require this information. Do not provide personal information unless you are confident that the scholarship is legitimate.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics:

Scholarship scammers may use high-pressure sales tactics to convince students to pay for a scholarship or to provide personal information. They may claim that the scholarship is available for a limited time or that there are only a few spots left. Legitimate scholarship programs do not use high-pressure sales tactics to recruit students.


The search for scholarships can be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay vigilant and avoid scholarship scams. Look out for red flags such as upfront fees, guarantees, unsolicited offers, personal information requests, and high-pressure sales tactics. Legitimate scholarship programs never require upfront fees, guarantee scholarships, make unsolicited offers, request personal information, or use high-pressure sales tactics. Always research the organization offering the scholarship and verify its legitimacy before providing personal information or paying any fees. By being cautious and doing your research, you can avoid scholarship scams and find legitimate scholarship opportunities to help pay for your education.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest