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How Do I Know if a Scholarship is Legit?

Unfortunately, there are many scholarship scams out there created in hopes to get a student’s money or personal information. Here’s what to keep in mind:

What Happens to My College Savings if I Win a Scholarship?

If you are in the wonderful situation where you have money in a 529 college savings plan and win a scholarship, you can take a non-qualified distribution from the 529 plan, up to the amount of the scholarship, without having to pay a penalty. You can also use a 529 plan to pay for qualified expenses that a scholarship may not cover, such as transportation and room and board costs. 

How to Find Scholarships

If you’re in high school, ask your high school counselor for additional resources.

If you’re a college student, ask the financial aid department how to locate scholarships at your school.

Upromise is an online platform that helps families save for college. You can register for free, and earn cash back towards college by shopping online through their links and registering your credit cards and dining at participating restaurants. They also award one member every month with a $529 scholarship, automatically. Sign up for free.

Many student loan providers even sponsor a scholarship, including AscentCollege AveDiscoverEarnestPNC BankSallie Mae and more.

These web sites offer free scholarship search services:

See also: 

At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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Saving For College is an unbiased, independent resource for parents and financial professionals, providing them with information and tools to understand the benefits of 529 college savings plans and how to meet the challenge of increasing college costs.