Online scholarships offer additional dollars

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Getting an education is undoubtedly expensive, but students at Dixie State University needn’t worry.

Even if you’ve applied for all the scholarships through the financial aid office that you’re eligible for, there are plenty of scholarships you can apply for online.

“Not only will our financial aid office help students get the money they need, but there are also many reputable websites students can go to,” said Sue Perschon, financial aid and scholarships coordinator.

One of the most popular scholarships sites is fastweb.com, where students can set up a free profile. Based on the students’ answers to the profile questions, such as age, year in school, ethnicity and whether or not they are first generation students, the website pulls together all the scholarship the students are eligible for. These scholarships are offered by many corporations, programs and privately-funded operations. Fastweb.com just puts available scholarships in one convenient place.

“Most of the scholarships on websites are smaller scholarships,” Perschon said. “Generally, if a student wants larger scholarships, they’ll have to apply through the college or through other programs.”

Despite the low amounts of money, students still utilize these scholarship websites.

“I paid for two semesters’ worth of books by applying for scholarships on Fastweb,” said Alex Smith, a sophomore English major from Salt Lake City. “It also helped me pay my rent. I may have had to apply for a lot of scholarships, but every little bit helps.”

Other reputable websites are collegeboard.org, collegenet.com and scholarships.com. These websites are listed among the top scholarship websites by usnews.com.

“I’ve used collegeboard.com many times throughout my college career,” said Jason Johnson, a senior computer information technology major from Las Vegas. “I got enough scholarships to pay an entire year’s tuition when I first started school. I highly recommend it to any student who needs help financially.”

While these websites are renowned for the scholarship opportunities they offer students, there are many scholarship scam websites on the internet. Students are warned to stay away from these websites.

To figure out if a scholarship website is reputable, there are some easy things to look for, Perschon said. If the website doesn’t have phone number, the website isn’t reliable. Reputable websites will also have proof of past winners and no application fee; scholarship scam websites often require a fee, don’t list a phone number and won’t show any past winners.

“If a student is ever unsure about a website, they shouldn’t use it,” Perschon said. “They can come to the financial aid office where we can help them apply for scholarships or lead them to websites that are reputable scholarship websites.”