Avoiding Scholarship Scams

<p>Washington Post columnist and NPR commentator Michelle Singletary wrote a great article, Beware</a> the Scholarship Hucksters.<br>

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People are paying hundreds of dollars to companies that make false claims that they can guarantee a child will win a scholarship, or they promise to help with applying for federal financial aid. But in many cases, what people get is useless information while spending money they could have used to help pay for the child's college education...</p>

<p>Typically, the companies making these false promises charge fees ranging from $50 to $1,500. You might get a notice in the mail or in your e-mail box inviting you to a hotel meeting room to learn all the secrets of winning scholarships or applying for financial aid.

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<p>The Washington Post site requires registration - if someone has a link to a syndicated copy of the column at a news site without registration, feel free to post it.</p>

<p>There's good advice in the article, including some signs to watch for in spotting unethical scholarship hunters and "financial aid consultants".</p>

<p>Usually if a scholarship search/database company wants money and "guarantees" results its not a very good sign. Some awards charge applicants a small entry fee - look for the evidence that people win the awards and consider how many awards are being offered and what your realistic chances are. This isn't necessarily a scam, a lot of scholarship foundations have limited donations and need to cover administrative costs of reading hundreds or thousands of applications at a time. Literature and Poetry contests usually have the highest entry fees but you SHOULD be getting some professional criticism out of the fee whether or not you win an award. That's actually pretty standard in the literary world, whether you're trying to get published in a periodical or anthology, or just trying to get a scholarship. </p>

<p>I think the point is, if you're looking for scholarships you should be GETTING money, not PAYING money.</p>

<p>The vast majority of programs are completely free and there are plenty of websites like <a href="http://www.ScholarshipExperts.com%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.ScholarshipExperts.com&lt;/a> and Fastweb.com that will help match students to awards they are eligible for. Not sure why people would pay for what they can get at high quality for free, especially when the point is to find money :)</p>

<p>thanks for posting this. I also want to state that even some scholarships posted on fastweb are somewhat fishy.</p>

<p>Even for private schools' scholarships - They could advertise for a much higher percentage of students that get the scholarship, but actually award a much lower percentage. May be it is just the advertising scheme - for educational institutions!</p>

<p>FYI: To read Washington Post articles like this one try BugMeNot.com. They provide login information for countless sites to save you the hassel.</p>

<p>Here's the link for the current working Post logins:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.bugmenot.com/view/washingtonpost.com%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.bugmenot.com/view/washingtonpost.com&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>readytobedone, that's a pretty cool website</p>

<p>I recently applied for a scholarship and it seemed a little bit weird to me. Here is the website, does anyone know any information. I found this scholarship through fastweb.com</p>

<p><a href="http://www.ezcir.com/requestform.htm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.ezcir.com/requestform.htm&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Looks more like a fishing attempt. I'm assuming you had to give them personal information like an e-mail address, phone number, mailing info...They're probably going to add you to their database and send you more information in the hopes that you'll give them money for their services in the hopes that it'll boost your chances for their scholarships.</p>

<p>Yeah, that doesn't look very good. They have a ton of advertisements everywhere and books & videos for sale. How much income from retail and personal information sales do they generate versus the few small scholarships they award? Good scholarship providers are non-profit organizations staffed with volunteers, or charitable foundations set up by for-profit organizations, or a few paid charity employees who aren't there to sell things to the student who needs money! </p>

<p>The best scholarships to apply for are the ones with very specific eligibility criteria - this narrows down the competition. Grades 9-12; GPA 2.0 or higher; U.S. citizen doesn't really narrow things down. It looks like they're just trying to build a market and using Fastweb to do their business advertising. If you know what you want to major in or what school you want to go to (or even what state the school you want to go to is in), this helps with finding more specific-eligibility scholarships.</p>

<p>I think before you guys post stuff you should take a really good look at a site before you make any judgements. On the site I found a very useful college search database by state. I found that I could quickly view the colleges and statistics I want to attend. I also found out by looking deeper into their site
that they have already helped some other people get into college.</p>

<p>As far as the ads and books.. give them a break will ya. At least the ads pertain.. what site have you seen that doesn't have ads.I also look at what they do. It is obvious that they want the colleges to be pro-active about calling seniors in high school that are looking to attend college. I for one think it's a good and valid website.</p>

<p>But to make sure I called the president of the company to get the story. I for one don't make assumptions. I was informed they are funded by a pretty cool site called radioc2.com and that is where they get the money to fund their scholarship. So without a moment hesitation I filled out the form. within a few hours I was called by the colleges I wrote in as being interested. Now that is service.</p>

<p>Yep.. they are real.. But I am watching them to see if they issue the scholarship this summer..</p>

<p>Anyways... I hope you guys find better things to do then Knock sites that are useful to the rest of us.</p>

<p>Dezee</p>

<p>The original EZCIR.com website WAS a legitimate site. It has been hijacked by the guy who runs the radioc2 website he mentioned above. The above posting was NOT posted by a college student. It was posted by a guy named Cliff deQ. He's the owner of the radioc2 website and he's using this formerly legit website to drive traffic to his other sites and collect money on the ads you see. </p>

<p>The guy who created the original concept is Tom Smith. Yes, he's a friend of mine, but he's also a legit education consultant. He was featured on the John Walsh show a few years ago when he helped shut down a fraudulent athletic recruiting company that he had unwittingly invested in. Tom has been helping kids get into college for years and I have personally spoken with several of the parents and students he has worked with. If you look at the "references" on his (former) site, insert "Tom Smith" for "CIR" in the client quotes and you'll see what people have to say about him.</p>

<p>It's really a shame that this guy has hijacked the site. </p>

<p>Tom is doing some really interesting things to help students. It's unfortunate that a scammer would use his good intentions against him... but I guess that's the way most scams work. Steal it and sell it!</p>

<p>If it doesn't have Tom's name on it... STAY AWAY!</p>

<p>Wow... really shows what tom has been up to. I am a personal friend of Cliff The guy your flaming. and I think you better get both side of the story before you make judgement. I am sure tom has not told you everything.</p>

<p>Cliff didn't high jack anything. His name is on the whois as the owner of the site since conception. And I am not cliff. It is a shame because cliff has said nothing but nice things about tom. I am sure he would love to hear what tom has been telling his friends.</p>

<p>As far as I can tell Cliff is still modifying the site and just added a scholarship search feature.</p>

<p>The only thing Cliff did tell me is that Tom was involved in something that made cliff decide after 24 years of being friends that he didn't want to associate with. If you are Tom's friend why don't you ask him "why a friend"
of so many years would decide to disconnect. Now that's the story I am after .</p>

<p>well i applied for it when i found it on fastweb......oops gave out my ssn?</p>

<p>deZEE... so... your original post said "...But to make sure I called the president of the company..." and now all of a sudden... you and the "president" of the company are personal friends? Interesting? And are you a Freshman who is applying for college scholarships? Could it be that you forgot your first post suggested that you didn't have a relationship with Cliff... or this company... and you found it by accident... only to discover the site is what your "personal friend" has been working on all this time?</p>

<p>Yes... I've seen Cliff's emails... I know what he claims... and frankly... he's an idiot and a hypocrit.</p>

<p>And.. as for his name being on the site... yes... he did register the name for Tom. I've registered domain names for friends too... but I've never used my technical abilities as a means to steal someone else's business.</p>

<p>Fortunately for the students... Cliff apologized and turned the site back over to Tom. Strange that it happened after FASTWEB and all the partners stopped sending traffic to the site and the pay-per-click money dried up while it was hijacked mode... but regardless... it's back on track now.</p>

<p>I had actually logged in here to let people know that the site had been returned to Tom and that a usefull tool was up and running again. I guess it was just a bonus to find your "illuminated" text. Thanks!</p>

<p>I'm sure ezcir.com is a real website becasue I received a scholarship from them. Go ahead check the website if you don't believe me. Past winners, Sarah White, atheltic scholarship.</p>

<p>Anybody here notice how many of the people above are posting for basically the first time? Uh, it doesn't lend to their credibility.</p>

<p>Hey all, I applied for many of these "questionable" scholarship programs and even won a couple of them. As long as it is a free application, why not try it? Here is a great experience that I had with a relatively new company, EZCIR:</p>

<p>I applied for this scholarship in early spring of my senior year in high school. I thought that this scholarship was, once again, one of those lottery, draw-your-name-out-of-a-hat scholarships. However, upon winning, I received a personal phone call from EZCIR, to talk about my future college and career plans and how they could get the money to me. </p>

<p>Not only was it a genuine scholarship, but they were personal enough to call and check up on me, to see how I could use their money.</p>

<p>I have now been offered an internship through EZCIR. So what I once thought could be a "scholarship scam" has turned out to be one of the most lucrative applications that I have ever completed. </p>

<p>So go ahead, and apply for as many scholarships as you can, you never know what may happen.</p>

<p>Bedhead, yes, I did notice that, and I'm sure the moderators will shut it down soon</p>

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The Washington Post site requires registration - if someone has a link to a syndicated copy of the column at a news site without registration, feel free to post it.

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<p>Hey guys, if you send me a little "security," I can arrange to hold a "subscription" for you. Guaranteed.</p>

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well i applied for it when i found it on fastweb......oops gave out my ssn?

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<p>Contact the authorities. Now.</p>

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<p>But can we be sure of Cliff's credentials if his advocate makes such a gross diction mistake?</p>