What are Unclaimed Scholarships?
There is sometimes a common perception that there are millions of dollars available in unclaimed scholarships for students who are willing to search out such funds. There are also many people who state that a large percentage of the unclaimed scholarship money is only a myth and that such funds do not actually exist.
The truth of the matter regarding unclaimed scholarships may actually exist somewhere in the middle of these two viewpoints. Below we explore what are unclaimed scholarships.
Unclaimed Scholarships are Unusual Scholarships
Unrewarded scholarship funds do appear to exist to some degree. Unclaimed college scholarships may primarily stem from rather restrictive unknown scholarships that have an extremely small pool of eligible scholarship applicants. Such unusual scholarships might include those that are only offered to applicants who meet a rare set of characteristics. Due to this, these unclaimed scholarships may result in left over funds that are not issued annually because eligible applicants did not apply for those unusual scholarships.
Employer Sponsored Scholarships are Unclaimed
There are also often claims that billions of dollars in scholarships went unclaimed over the previous year. Although it would certainly be nice if this were true and students could simply claim those unclaimed scholarships, this type of statement is often based on older estimates regarding unused tuition benefits offered by employers that the general public simply would not be eligible to receive. According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, approximately 85% of the funds that are referred to as unclaimed scholarships may actually be employer-paid education benefits. Many businesses offer to pay education benefits to employees as a way of enhancing the quality of their workforce.
Unclaimed Scholarships may be Hard to Get
It would appear that unclaimed scholarships may be available but they do not appear to be available in the easy to obtain and abundant numbers that are typically reported. If you do have an unusual talent or a rare set of characteristics it might be possible that you are eligible for some obscure scholarship funds which other students would not be eligible to receive, but it would be best not to count on such unclaimed scholarship funds to fund the entire cost of your education. This is particularly true when you consider the fact that there are other ways you can fund your education, including numerous easier scholarship programs that are not based on a restrictive set of eligibility criteria.
Never Pay Fees to Get Unclaimed Scholarships
Students trying to find unclaimed scholarships may actually come across a number of different claims. One of those is that by paying a small fee you will be provided with a comprehensive list of scholarships for which the student is eligible. Such claims also frequently include the claim that the unclaimed college scholarships come from a large database. The reality is that students should never feel as though they need to pay to receive a database of scholarship information, even for unclaimed scholarships. The best and biggest scholarship databases are actually available with no need to pay to receive the information. The number of unclaimed college scholarships claimed to be available by some services can oftentimes be misleading due to the fact that individual sponsors may actually offer hundreds of different types of scholarships.
Check for Unclaimed Scholarship Money at the College You Attend
Prospective scholarship applicants that do want to make certain they do not miss out on any unclaimed scholarships may wish to check with the institution they plan to attend regarding any obscure scholarships that may be issued directly through that institution.
Unclaimed scholarships that are available to a small pool of applicants are sometimes offered directly through a college or university. Applicants to that school or students who are already attending that school may have a better opportunity to receive those limited or restrictive scholarships than the general population.
Applying for scholarships is certainly a good way to pursue an advanced education and also to help defray the costs of a higher education. There are many scholarships that are available that offer awards to thousands of deserving students each year. While unclaimed scholarships may not exist in the numbers and amounts that are frequently reported,there are unclaimed scholarship opportunities that do exist for eligible students.