Is Unclaimed Scholarship Money a Myth?
While there is plenty of unclaimed money in the U.S., one type is of particular interest to the (soon to be) college students and their parents—unclaimed scholarships.
A rumor about billions of unclaimed dollars waiting to be picked up by students started in the pre-internet era, but it's still going strong today.
Can students really grasp unclaimed scholarships, or is this rumor a foundation for one more unclaimed money scam?
Are There Billions in Unclaimed College Scholarship Money?
Since not all scholarships are awarded each year, there is a system for either redistributing the funds or keeping them for future students. No fund or organization would give away leftover scholarship money to students outside the parameters of their program.
The myth about billions of unclaimed scholarships is only that—a myth.
The story goes back to the seventies when the National Institute of Work and Learning stated that almost $7 billion was available each year in employer-provided education assistance.
Employees only used about $400 million annually. This $6.6 billion leftover somehow got translated into scholarship money that goes unclaimed.
While the myth is debunked, the stories reemerge each year as college application season approaches.
The rumors are reignited by millions of dollars coming from unclaimed Federal Pell Grants. The Pell Grant is one of the awards available with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The leftover money shows up when high school seniors don't fill out FAFSA paperwork on time. While this technically is unclaimed scholarship money, it's still not freely available.
While there may not be billions in forgotten scholarship cash stashed somewhere, that doesn't mean that you cannot apply for available scholarships.
How To Find a Scholarship?
You may be under the impression that scholarships are reserved only for high-achieving students. This is a common misconception as there are plenty of scholarship programs you may be eligible for.
Scholarships generally fall into one of these categories:
These scholarships have standards related to academic or athletic achievements
Types of scholarships that usually have both the academic and financial criteria
Programs meant to aid specific categories, such as women or students from military families, but there are also the "weird ones."
You can find scholarships for left-handed people or those with other specific characteristics
There are several ways to find suitable scholarships:
- Talk to your school counselor
- Meet with the financial aid officer at your college of choice
- Check with local foundations or community organizations
- Use the U. S. Department of Labor's search tool
The last option allows you to either go through the entire list of available scholarships or narrow down the search by entering a keyword. You can also filter out the search by type of award, level of studies, your location or location of your future college, and many other factors.
If Unclaimed Grant Money for College Doesn't Exist, What Types of Unclaimed Assets Do?
There may not be any mysterious scholarship cash waiting for you, but that doesn't mean that you don't have other unclaimed funds under your name.
Did you know that there are over $58 billion in unclaimed funds in the U.S. and that some of those may be yours?
There are many reasons why you may not know about this. You may have forgotten about a refund or changed your address, which prevented someone from returning your money. You might also have an old bank account that you didn't clear.
Whatever the case may be, the companies have to turn over any extra money to the state if they cannot contact the rightful owner.
Common types of unclaimed funds are:
- Insurance money and leftover money from home insurance checks
- Uncashed checks
- Contents of safe deposit boxes
- Inheritance money or other funds from deceased relatives
- Bank accounts funds, such as those from Bank of America or Wells Fargo
- Child support checks
- Payroll checks
The list goes on and can include all kinds of assets. Property that cannot be considered unclaimed is real estate, vehicles, furniture, or anything was stolen.
How To Find Unclaimed Money With DoNotPay
DoNotPay's Missing Money feature will locate and help you claim any forgotten assets in under five minutes.
Follow these steps to search for funds you can claim:
- Open DoNotPay in any web browser
- Click on the Missing Money feature
- Provide your full name and your current and previous addresses
- Click on the Claim My Property option to initiate the process
DoNotPay will find your assets, generate a claim, and send it on your behalf, saving you time.
An additional perk is that you can use our app to find your unclaimed property in any state, which is not the case if you opt to go through this process on your own.
How To Find Unclaimed Money on Your Own
You can always try to find unclaimed assets on your own, but there is one major issue with that idea. The United States doesn't have a central database of unclaimed assets, covering all states.
If you want to search for your unclaimed money in several different states, you have to visit websites for each of those states.
While the process is exhausting, one platform that proved helpful is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
NAUPA has resources relevant to each state when it comes to claiming forgotten assets.
Here is how to file a claim for your state:
- Go to the NAUPA website
- Scroll down until you find the Search for a property in your state or province section
- Choose the state
You will be redirected to the website for the state you choose. Find the Claim My Property or similar link and follow the prompts. You will likely have to provide your first and last name, current and former address, and maybe some additional info like your Social Security number.
How DoNotPay Can Help You Save on College Application Fees
Whether you get a scholarship or not, college is expensive. Even if you don't count tuition, college fees can take a toll on someone's wallet, and application fees are one of the many expenses you have to count in. If you plan to apply for several schools, you could use a college fee waiver to help with the financial burden.
DoNotPay's new feature makes it easy for you to waive fees for any college application.
Here is how to do it:
- Open the DoNotPay in your web browser
- Click on College Application Fee Waiver
- Select which fee you would like to waive
- Choose the college you're applying to
After you answer a few questions, we will draft a fee waiver letter and email it to the college in your stead.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do for You
DoNotPay can even help manage your student loan bills if they are causing headaches.
Access our app from your web browser and check how we can help you with:
- Obtaining refunds and compensation from airlines
- Settling credit card issues
- Getting revenge against robocalls
- Procuring refunds for unsatisfactory purchases
- Finding unclaimed money under your name
- Filing a lawsuit against anyone in small claims court
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