Hardships from Scholarships

Sara Riley Kight, Staff Writer

Most students know about applying for scholarships to pay for college, but many neglect the possible financial dangers. With more freetime on their hands, Kempsville High School juniors and seniors are prepping for the long roads ahead of them: SATs, college applications, exams, and, of course, scholarships.

Mary Casper, a junior in Entrepreneurship and Business Academy said, “I feel that scholarships are an amazing way for students who may not have the right financial situation to pay for college.”

Most students need scholarships to pay for college, considering the average cost of attending a four-year university is about $37,000 or more, according to a 2020 report by Educationdata.org. Mark Kantrowitz, VP of Research for Savingforcollege.com, found that more than $7.4 billion in scholarship awards are given away each year to more than 1.58 million student recipients. Casper, along with Sydney Alphin, intend to be a part of the 1.58 million students applying this year and next.

Alphin, a junior, said, “I know there are hundreds of scholarships that a lot of kids never apply for… Even if they are $50 or $100 scholarships, every little bit counts in the end.”

However, with so much money going around, there are always going to be those who take advantage of the situation. In this case, millions of dollars are sucked away from college students each year in the form of scholarship scams.

Hopeful college students fall prey to these scams each year, so here are a few things to look out for when applying for scholarships:

  • Don’t give financial information or pay any fees
  • Don’t buy information (most information can be found for free)
  • Use reliable sources for scholarship searches
  • Watch out for scholarships that have been “won,” but never applied for
  • Look for specific contact information about the scholarship
  • Avoid sites that say money “went unclaimed” in years past

“I should be more conscious of what I read online and how to protect myself from these threats,” said Alphin.

Casper shared similar thoughts.

“I plan on doing intense research into the scholarships I apply to.”

While scholarships are an excellent way to pay for college, be mindful and smart about applications and money.