Online School Grants

Need some help paying for school? Join the club. The large majority of students cannot afford tuition for college or graduate school outright. That is why financial aid exists. The trouble is that much financial aid is in the form of loans. If you take out a loan, in a certain way it doesn’t really seem like financial aid, because you have to pay the amount you’ve borrowed, plus often substantial interest, back later.

This is why school grants are so attractive. They are real financial assistance, rather than the delayed payout of a loan. Grants offer students a much more worry free means of getting money for college. One grant is good, but several grants put together are even better, and can substantially reduce the amount a student (or the student’s parents) has to pay.

In response to this fact, a whole “grant industry” has sprung up, particularly online. The laws of supply and demand have swung into action in this portion of the economy. People want to go to school to better their economic situation, therefore they want grants. The demand is there, so suppliers have come out of the woodwork to profit from that demand. They offer online school grants via catchy slogans to eager students to be.

This has both its beneficial and unfortunate sides. Online grant sites offering to help with school are extremely numerous. Some are more legitimate and complete than others. Many are not outright scams, but instead may simply be quickly assembled sites promising to get school grants for people that may not deliver as well as they claim. Some, however, are true scams and should be strenuously avoided. These are discussed a bit more below.

Often these grant and scholarship sites are simply informational in nature. They provide listing and search functionality. The student in search of grants can browse by state or locale, by types of schools, types of scholarships, and so on. These sites are often fairly helpful unless they are so hastily put together that they supply incomplete or outdated information. But even then the worst that can happen is that the grant seeker will hit a dead end – find that a phone number has been changed or a grant program is no longer offered.

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The internet is a great way to dive in and come up with a lot of varied information. Somebody seeking a grant can benefit from doing just that. School grants (primarily known as scholarships at the undergraduate level and fellowships at the graduate level) come in all shapes and sizes these days. They are offered by the federal government, by state governments, by colleges and universities, by a wide array of private grant foundations, by research foundations, by corporations, by various non profit concerns, and so on. The sheer number of potential grants that can be found online is quite impressive.

By “online school grants” a number of different thing may be implied. It may mean simply the practice or process of searching for grants online as mentioned above. It may also refer to the ability to apply for many grants on the web. Applications for all kinds of things are done online today, and grants are no exception. Thirdly, the phrase may refer to getting grants for online (or “distance learning”) college programs. It is easy to see how these three categories interact. The entire process is becoming more and more web based, and so finding school grants is something that is quite easy and natural to do on the internet.

A fairly typical example of a legitimate school grant site is Scholarships.com. The site promises to find college money quickly for the site’s users. Prospective grant recipients create a profile that is used for a search feature that matches users with grants for which they qualify. Reviews of the service are mainly positive. Even the Better Business Bureau accredits the site and gives it an A+ rating. There are a few minor complaints by ex users about things like convenience and comprehensiveness of the search tool or the site not finding as many grants as was promised, but that’s about all.

Actual online school grants scams tend to have a number of fairly easy to spot warning signs. Here are a few claims and verbiage to watch out for:

“You have been approved for a scholarship”

Scammers sometimes claim a victim has been approved or spontaneously chosen for a scholarship. This is a definite warning sign. People are not simply “chosen” to receive grants. They have to apply for them and sometimes must compete and come out on top in a competition such as an essay writing contest.

“Grants guaranteed or your money back”

Nobody can guarantee you will receive free money for college. It doesn’t work that way. The only party that guarantees a scholarship or grant is the governmental or private organization issuing it. And that is after you have gone through an application process and been approved.

Simply charging for the service

The vast majority of grant information is available free. You should not use a service that charges anything more than a very small, nominal fee. Preferably they will not even charge a fee at all. If they ask for substantial amounts of money, don’t deal with them.

Invitations to “seminars”

If a school grants company invites you to a seminar, be leery. There have been reports of scammers inviting people to seminars that turned out to be sales pitches, getting from hundreds to as much as a thousand dollars from the unfortunate seminar attendees, and disappearing, never to be heard from again.

Asking for bank account or credit card numbers

Giving bank account or credit card numbers out is never a part of the legitimate grant process. If there are any fees associated with getting a grant, such as processing fees, these are deducted from the grant itself.

As you can see, a little common sense is usually enough to avoid these scams. They are often found by means of online school grants searches, though they may be received unsolicited through email or regular mail as well.

Looking for school grants and scholarships online is generally a convenient and easy way to go about it. Simply steer clear of the sharks and you can find a large amount of high quality information on the internet that will help you in your search for college financing.

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