Students and parents beware of phony scholarships

Every year about 350K fall for scholarship schemes

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - With higher education comes a high price tag. That’s why so many students headed back to school are looking for financial aid.

“Scholarships make or break whether you can go,” said Western New England University junior, Melissa Emmons. “If you don’t have a scholarship it definitely won’t allow you to go to school as easily.”

Which is why students are looking for whatever financial aid they can find. Every year about 350,000 students and parents fall victim to scholarship schemes, losing more than $5 million.

If you are required to pay a fee to apply for the scholarship, or to accept one, that’s a huge red flag. You should also be aware of organizations asking for too much personal information. One Western New England University student told 22News, it’s hard to figure out which fees you should and should not be paying for.

“There’s an application fee to apply to school, so I could see why many people would think there would be one for scholarships. Definitely confusing,” said Abby Powers, a WNEU junior.

“I spend a few dollars here or there. Fill out an application send an essay and boom, I might be the winner of a scholarship, but no,” said WNEU junior Ethan Popowitz. “It’s a lottery, it’s a raffle or they have to fill something else out, and it’s going to be impossible to know if you’re the recipient or not, and your moneys the down the drain.”

It’s standard for scholarships to ask for your name and address, but you should always protect your birth date, social security number and bank account information.

If you think you’ve applied for a scholarship that’s not legit, you can report it to the federal trade commission at 877-382-4357.

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