The Truth About Unclaimed Scholarships
Every year your family spends thousands of dollars on your college degree. While you spend hours trying to find scholarships to help lower the cost.
Well, how would you feel if billions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed every year? Does it make your stomach turn?
Rumor has it that there are billions of dollars in unclaimed scholarships every year. Well, the rumor is exactly that- a rumor. The information is both false and outdated.
In reality, most college scholarships get claimed as they usually get more applicants than they have the money for.
When Are Scholarships Unclaimed?
There are some instances where scholarships go unclaimed, but, it is much less than what the myth claims. Most of the big scholarships usually have winners.
One reason for unclaimed scholarships is that there aren’t applicants who meet the criteria. The restrictions of the scholarship may be so specific that it doesn’t receive applicants.
For example, a scholarship may award applicants because of their last name or their ethnicity. The Zolp scholarship is only for students at the Loyola University of Chicago born with the last name Zolp. Almost every year, Loyola University receives applications for students who are eligible. But, some years there are no applicants so the scholarship does not get claimed. Maybe time to consider a name change?
Why Scholarship Money is Usually Always Claimed
There are some circumstances where the scholarship winner won’t end up using the money.
This may happen for various reasons if the scholarship winner:
- Lied on their application
- Breaks one of the rules of the scholarship
- Decides to go to a different school and loses the school-specific scholarship
- Changes majors and loses the major-specific scholarship
When scholarship money is not claimed, the organization usually does one of two things with the money. Either, they award the money to another student or they save the money for future awards.
It’s false that billions of dollars in college scholarships go unclaimed every year. But, there are some scholarships that less students apply to. Because of this, the scholarship might have a higher chance of going unclaimed because it doesn’t receive as many applicants. These scholarships may include smaller scholarships or local scholarships. You should definitely apply for these, even if the award is small.
The Truth About Pell Grants
When you hear about scholarship money that wasn’t claimed, this is usually referring to Pell Grants. It is estimated that in 2017, about $2.3 billion dollars in Pell Grants were not claimed.
It is important that you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Pell Grant is one of many financial awards available with a FAFSA, and it currently gives up to $5,920 in funding.
More than a million students miss out on the Federal Pell Grant, although they could have qualified for it. Because they aren’t filing the FAFSA, they aren’t getting the grant.
Even in the case of unclaimed Pell Grants, where billions of dollars are not claimed, the money is not going to waste. Rather, it goes towards federal aid for future students to use.
Watch out for Scholarship Scams
Some scholarship companies charge students. They say there are billions of dollars of unclaimed scholarships every year. Don’t fall victim to this. Instead, use the many free scholarship services out there.
There aren’t millions or billions of scholarship dollars going unclaimed in every year. Still, there’s a good chance that you aren’t claiming the money you deserve. No matter what scholarship you might receive, filling out the FAFSA every year should be at the top of your priorities. Sure, it may take some of your time, but the results are worth it! Plus, it is a must for many financial aid forms.
Remember, you can keep applying to scholarships every semester. The more scholarships you apply to, the better chance you have at winning money. Keep up the great work.