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Essential Links

Intro to Financial Aid Scams

Source: The Federal Trade Commission

A national Consumer protection agency, the FTC has put together a beginner-friendly intro on how to avoid, spot, and report both scholarship and financial aid scams. This page lists a slew of deceptive marketing hooks and fraudulent business models, which students and parents might encounter during their searches for scholarships and financial aid.

Intro to Federal Loans & Student Debt

Source: StudentLoanBorrowerAssistance.Org

Let’s face it. Everyone should know what can happen if they default on their student loans. A nonprofit organization, the SLBA has put together a handy site, loaded with information about student loan repayment, bankruptcy laws, cancellation, and collections. The site’s “Start Here” tab is worth exploring as it offers well-written, easy-to-follow descriptions of the different types of federal loans available to students.

Compare Tuitions & Loan Repayments

Source: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A federal watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created an excellent, free tool that lets parents and college-bound students compare the tuition costs and expected loan repayments associated with attending up to three different schools. It’s easy to use, informative, and a great way for students to see how their choices might play out in the long run.

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FREE SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH ENGINES

CollegeScholarships.Org

Account Required:  No
Privacy Policy:  (click here)
Customer Service:  Available by email

Pros:

  • This scholarship database can be accessed without registering for an account.
  • This scholarship database is organized by multiple, easy-to-navigate categories.
  • Scholarship search results can be prioritized (e.g. award amount and deadline).
  • Most scholarship listings contain benefactor contact info.

Cons:

  • Some vigilance is required to avoid student loan advertisements and sponsored offers.
  • Additional research is necessary to confirm the program details of some scholarship listings.
  • Scholarship matches cannot be saved.

CareerOneStop.Org

Account Required:  No
Privacy Policy:  (click here)
Customer Service:  Available by phone and email

Pros:

  • This site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • The scholarship database can be accessed without registering for an account.
  • Scholarship search results can be filtered by a variety of criteria.
  • Scholarship search results can be prioritized (e.g. award amount and deadline).

Cons:

  • This site can be very overwhelming for inexperienced scholarship researchers.
  • Additional research is necessary to confirm the program details of each scholarship listing.
  • Scholarship searches cannot be saved.

SCHOLARSHIPS.COM

Account Required:  No
Privacy Policy:  (click here)
Customer Service:  Available by email

Pros:

  • This scholarship database can be accessed without registering for an account.
  • This scholarship database is organized by multiple, easy-to-navigate categories.
  • Registering for a free account allows for a personalized scholarship-match search.
  • Scholarship match results can be prioritized (e.g. award amount, deadline, and total number of awards).
  • Scholarship matches can be saved.

Cons:

  • Registration requires a physical address, phone number, and email account.
  • Some vigilance is required to avoid sharing personal information with third parties.
  • Users can be easily distracted by unrelated deals, offers, and advertisements.
  • Additional research is necessary to confirm the program details of most scholarship listings.

UNIGO.COM

Account Required:  No
Privacy Policy:  (click here)
Customer Service:  Available by email

Pros:

  • This scholarship database can be accessed without registering for an account.
  • This scholarship database is organized by multiple, easy-to-navigate categories.
  • Registering for a free account allows for a personalized scholarship-match search.
  • Scholarship match results can be prioritized (e.g. award amount and deadline).
  • Scholarship matches can be saved.

Cons:

  • Registration requires a physical address, phone number, and email account.
  • A fair amount of vigilance is required to avoid sharing personal information with third parties.
  • Users can be easily distracted by unrelated deals, offers, and advertisements.
  • Additional research is necessary to confirm the program details of most scholarship listings.
  • The popularity of this site likely increases the competitiveness of featured scholarships and essay contests.