One of the best ways to pay for massage school is to earn a scholarship (or several scholarships) to help cover the costs of tuition, fees, and supplies. Scholarships, which don’t have to be repaid and are usually offered based on financial status and personal merit, have long been a staple of the college community. Massage scholarships are no different, and many types of them exist to help pay for school.
However, while many scholarships represent a chance to attend the school of your dreams, not all of them are legitimate. There are groups out there that use scholarship scams to cheat prospective students out of their money. To avoid being taken advantage of in your pursuit of financial aid, here are a few things to look out for.
- Application Fees: Almost all legitimate scholarships are free to apply for. Sure, it might not seem like a lot to pay $5 or $10 to apply for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship, but multiply this by a few thousand applicants, and what you have is a scholarship-for-profit scam. Chances are no one will actually “win” the scholarship, and everyone will simply assume they were passed over for the prize.
- Fees to Release the Scholarship Funds: Like many of the lottery scams floating around the Internet these days, some scammers will tell you that you’ve won a scholarship prize, but you have to pay a redemption fee or taxes before the monies can be released. Be wary of any awards that require you to pay money upfront, especially if you don’t remember applying for it.
- Any Guarantees: No scholarship is guaranteed, and no scholarship search service can promise you’ll get your money back if they don’t get you the results you want. Paying for scholarship searches is rarely a good idea.
- No Past Winners or Professional Affiliations: Most legitimate scholarships are affiliated with an organization (like the AMTA for massage) or have a list of winners for years past. A website should proudly display these affiliations and past winners, and the organizations should be upfront about the requirements and awards.
- Personal Information Requests: Most scholarships will require you to fill out your personal information (name, address, age, birthdate), and some may even require financial history (such as your family income). However, you should never be asked to provide a social security number, bank account number, or credit card number. These could indicate an identity theft scam.
A good idea when applying for scholarships is to research each one carefully. You can even talk with your school’s financial aid department if you have questions or concerns, since they may know of the best places to find scholarships and which ones are out to take advantage of students.