Unclaimed Scholarships

By Viviana Avila

Many high school seniors are receiving acceptance or rejection letters from the colleges they applied to on these coming months and are now trying to figure out what school they can actually afford.

 A person’s dream school might be attainable to get accepted into with good grades, great test scores, and other specific criteria, but when decision time comes around; their financial stability tends to make up their minds to what college they would attend.

Luckily, for many students (regardless of their grade level) financial aid is available, but it can also overwhelm them. Many websites such as Fastweb.com or Scholorships.org are available to students as search engines for them to narrow down millions of possible scholarships to match their academic, extracurricular, and ethnical background. Even though many options are accessible to students when it comes to finding scholarships, many seem to be overwhelmed and turn to a school that they didn’t really want to go to but can easily be paid for.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for high school seniors is the most common method for which students get financial aid, but for many it has become a true nightmare. Senior Stacey Arevalo commented that the FAFSA application is a simple process for those students that don’t have complicate family problems, but it became “a real challenge for people like me that have family situations where it’s not simple to get the information I need to fill the application out.” Arevalo adds, “I would need help in various occasions and would go to the college center, but would receive a very vague response. They would tell me my situation was very specific and to simply call the FAFSA hotline but then my call would turn into me talking to what seemed like hundreds of different people.” After many obstacles Arevalo was able to fill out her FAFSA application but summarizes her experience as “even more complicated then applying to various colleges.”

Scholarships are so sought after by many undergraduate and graduate students that unfortunately scammers have found a way to take advantage of students. FAFSA applications can easily be filled out by the student, but people have found ways to charge students to simply fill out their applications. FAFSA.com is an online service that helps students in the filling out of the application, charges various fees compared to FAFSA.gov which is free of charge.

To prevent many schemes and other problems when it comes to finding money to pay for college, students should find the college center as an ideal resource to double check the legitimacy of any scholarship they are applying to.