With college tuition soaring, many students take on a part-time job and that is to find scholarships that can pay for their on-campus or online bachelor degree.

But while the promise of scholarships is a great one, you should always proceed with caution. Indeed, getting a scholarship is a lot easier than it used to be.

In the past, if you didn’t have a large GPA you could kiss the idea of landing a grant goodbye. But that’s no longer the case today. Many average students trying to find financial help for their online degree program manage to do so successfully.

But among the large number of scholarship offers available for those enrolled with an offline or online degree program, you will inevitably find scams. It’s of the uttermost importance that you learn to protect yourself against these tricks.

Even as you are desperately trying to find money to pay for your traditional or distance learning, you should always be on the lookout for red flags.

For example, if a scholarship program contacts you out of the blue offering you money, it’s definitely suspicious.

Another shady scenario is when you have to pay a fee to apply for a scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to give you money to fund your on-campus or distance learning, not to ask for money. So if you stumble upon something like this, we recommend you walk away.

Remember you are trying to get money to pay for your on-campus or online bachelor degree. It doesn’t make sense that you should pay money to be given a scholarship.

Fortunately, the majority of grants aren’t scams. They are legit programs that are willing to sponsor you. Provided you fit the criteria. Some might have a GPA requirement; others might need you to demonstrate financial need or a passion for leadership.

It depends on the scholarship. However, it’s important that you read the scholarship description top to bottom, so you know whether you are eligible to apply or not.

Don’t waste your precious time applying for funding programs which are looking for a different type of student.

Here’s an example of scholarship and its requirements. The UNF Daniel A. Martinez Family Scholarship. In order to apply for this particular grant you will have to be:

  • A resident of Putnam County, Florida
  • First-time-in-college freshmen
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • Must have plans to attend the University of North Florida
  • Demonstrate commitment to community service
  • Be in financial need as demonstrated by the FAFSA form

So these are the requirements. If you are not from Putnam County or don’t have a minimum GPA of 2.5 it’s pointless to apply.

But if you fit the profile, you can start gathering your application documents. These include:

  • Resume
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Personal statement in which you talk about a list of topics including what sets you apart from other candidates.

Keep in mind that you have until October 15, 2018 to apply. The Martinez Family Scholarship is worth $3,000 and is renewable each year. So you stand to receive up to $12,000 in funding.