Once a month, we send our Prepare + Pay for College E-Newsletter out to almost 200,000 students, parents, counselors, and educators all over Utah. All are welcome to reply back to our newsletter if they have any questions about preparing or paying for college. Here’s one of the great questions that came in this week…

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Question from Utah Student:

Hi, I have reviewed your material which is very interesting. I am interested in your thoughts regarding the different websites to get informed of different scholarship opportunities. I would like to know your thoughts on ScholarshipOwl.com and the SallieMae college planning site. If you have other additional sources that I should consider, please send them across. Regards, Anonymous Utah Student.

Step Up Utah Prepare + Pay for College Expert Answer:

Hello and thank you for reaching out to StepUpUtah! We are happy to provide some of our advice about these websites and provide some resources that might be of assistance to you.

Scholarship Owl looks like it has the advantage of being able to use one application for many scholarships, but it also looks like some of their services require users to pay in order to access them. At StepUp Utah, we remind everyone that you should never have to pay to search for and apply for scholarships. We believe students and parents should save hard-earned cash to help pay for their education. We recommend that students in Utah use local resources like the StepUp Scholarships search engine on Utah Futures.

There are also many legitimate scholarship search sites out there that won’t charge just for applying for scholarships. Check out this list for many legitimate scholarship search sources.  

It’s important to remember that when looking for scholarships, students and parents should look close to home! Parents can ask their employer if they have tuition benefits. The bank or credit union the student uses might have scholarship opportunities available. Many local businesses and non-profits work to support higher education in our community.

We also encourage everyone to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they qualify for grants, work-study, or student loans. Again, remember that you should never have to pay for scholarship advice or to apply for a scholarship, especially when high school guidance counselors and the StepUp Utah team are here to help. To help students become better applicants, we have created the Scholarship Toolkit to help students apply for scholarships. You can down load that toolkit here. We also are active on social media with scholarship opportunities, advice to scholarship applicants, and college preparation tips. And all of our resources are free!

The Sallie Mae site also looks like it has a lot of great tools to help you prepare for college, such as many calculators to help determine college costs and a scholarship search engine. These tools can help students prepare for their college costs by planning now for their education. Just remember as you go through resources likes these and find other sites to never pay for a scholarship search, for help with the FAFSA, or for other college-related cost calculators, especially when StepUpUtah can help you!

We have many other resources to help Utah students like yourself prepare and pay for college. We are here to help Utah reach the governor’s goal to have 66% of Utah adult receive college degrees or certificates by 2020. We have many resources on our web site and our YouTube channel. Also, you can follow some of our outreach officers on social media. Follow Jacob and Katie on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @stepupjacob and @stepupkatieLet us know how else we can help!

Remember – If you ever have any planning, preparing, or paying for college questions for us, we’re always happy to help. You can send us a direct email to outreach@utahsbr.edu or go to our contact page and send your question there. Have a wonderful day!

-Bryan from the Step Up to Higher Education Utah Team