Harper College

Scholarships and Other Sources of Funding

The federal government is the main source of financial aid for college, but it isn’t the only source.


Everyone wants free money to help them attend college. There are many types of scholarships offered by colleges as well as local and national organizations, including scholarships that don’t require outstanding grades. Each scholarship provider has its own application and its own rules to decide who can get its scholarship.

Free sources of information include:

  • U.S. Department of Education’s scholarship information at studentaid.gov/scholarship
  • Each college’s financial aid office
  • A high school counselor
  • Your library’s reference section
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations
  • Local businesses or civic groups
  • Organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Your employer or your parent’s employer
  • Free online scholarship searches

Beware! Scholarship scams

Sadly, there are many fraudulent scholarship schemes to steal money or identities from students. If you receive notice of a scholarship award that you did not apply for, be aware that it is probably not legitimate and should be ignored.

The following list of red flags can help you determine whether a scholarship or grant is a fraud:

  • The offer says it is guaranteed.
  • The offer requests personal information such as your name, address and Social Security Number.
  • The offer requires an up-front “processing” fee to obtain the scholarship.
  • The offer is for a scholarship you did not apply for.
Last Updated: 1/4/24