$10,000 Scholarship Drawings: Legit?

by Judge Josh on March 23, 2010

I’m still catching up with some of the comments left during the last few months of my pathetic absence from this site, and today I’m going to address one that’s come up multiple times.

You may have seen references all over the Web to “scholarships” that seem to require very little of their applicants. Some are the “$10,000 Scholarship Zone” program, and others include “Scholarships For Moms,” “Scholarships for Dads,” “Military Scholarships” and, more recently, “Scholarships for Working Adults.”

These scholarships are usually for a big prize (I usually see $10,000) and are given away rather often — twice a month, usually, from what I’ve seen. And many of you want to know whether these scholarships are legit, or if they’re just a way for the company to collect your personal information so that they can sell it to other companies.

I don't know why this photo came back when I Googled "Too Good To Be True," but I'm sticking with it. This man is, indeed, too good to be true.

I don't know why this photo came back when I Googled "Too Good To Be True," but I'm sticking with it. This man is, indeed, too good to be true.

The answer is usually “yes,” on all counts. I’ll explain.

First of all, while I don’t run any of the programs or know anyone who does, I do feel reasonably confident (confident enough to declare it here on my site, anyway) that yes, these $10,000 awards are actually given. I call them “awards” rather than scholarships because I believe the winners are chosen at random — there’s not much scrutinizing of your scholarly achievements (you aren’t even asked to provide evidence of them, usually, so how could they?). Essentially, these are drawings, not true scholarships, not according to my personal definition, anyway.

So, why do these random websites just give away $10,000 every two weeks? And, of course, HOW do they come up with the money to do so? There’s got to be something more to it, and there is. Yes, as our earlier commenters suspected, most of these contests require you to check a box agreeing to allow your personal information to be shared with other companies. And then, of course, they go rent and/or sell your information to marketing companies.

So, that’s about the size of it; it isn’t really any more complicated than that. Oh wait, yes it is — there’s more!

You see these links everywhere you go on the Web, don’t you? I certainly do. Well, that’s because website owners everywhere have a great incentive to promote these drawings, and that’s because the people who run the drawings pay a kickback (er, referral fee) for each student that websites refer. The fee is usually between $2 and $4 per student. This is known as “affiliate marketing” and it’s a huge industry across the Internet, and very much so in the field of higher education.


For example, ever wonder why you see absolutely TONS of links to online schools like University of Phoenix, Argosy University, Full Sail University, etc., everywhere you go on the Web? It’s because those schools pay BIG referral fees to affiliates who refer students into their programs. These online colleges pay between $25 and $35 for every prospective student who fully fills out their little online questionnaire about attending online classes and such. Not a bad payday if you can get it, eh? Exactly. And that’s why websites everywhere trip all over themselves to get you to fill out the form on their site — or, in our original case, apply for a scholarship drawing.

Personally, I do post links to these type of scholarship drawings, and I’m ok with it (and I’m especially OK with it after explaining to you in this post how it all works). There are a lot of people — most people, I think — who won’t want to participate in the drawings knowing that their information is going to be used for marketing. Then again, there are hundreds of thousands of people who will happily fork over the information (that lots of marketers already have anyway) for a shot at $10,000. It’s just a personal decision, and I’m not going to make it for you — you can decide.

So there you have it, an explanation in brief of these ever-present $10,000 scholarship drawings. Any more questions or comments? Leave ‘em below and I’ll answer within 24 hours. Thanks!

Best,
“Judge Josh” Barsch

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryum Styles March 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I’m really glad you addressed this issue. I have been wondering myself if anyone actually won any money. I’ve filled out at least five of them, but do realize that they aren’t real scholarships. But it’s great to have some reassurance.

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Rachel Richardson March 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I been filling out all the scholarship I can. I am glad to know that they are really.I may get lucked and win one.I am always looking for scholarships on the web.

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William Yohanes Numberi March 27, 2010 at 9:05 am

I am very glad that you give me the information about this scholarship. I hope I can get it because I really need it to support my study in my country, Indonesia. Can I get the chance to receive the scholarship while I study in my country, Indonesia? I am looking forward to receiving it. Thank you and God bless.

Yours sincerely,
William Y. Numberi

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sheida kharazmi March 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

hello iamfrom iran /tehran . a painter i have ba painting and i received ma painting scholarship from scad atlanta university in year2008 but i couldnt go to us that year .so i want to gain painting ma scholarship for this year a gain .please to guide me .thanks a lot .regards: sheida kharazmi

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Kemadjou Laure March 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I’am soo interessed of the scholarship,,
Thank you

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John March 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I have filled out these scholarship for years without any luck. What I have found is that they are all the same site under different names, just check the winners in each site and they are the same people. Also there is a limit to the number of time per week you can sign up for the winnings. Check the fine print.

Lost in debit from school

John

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Shajarena March 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Thank you, for sharing that bit of information about the $10,000 Scholarship Drawings because I have always wanted to know if that was type of “scholarship drawing” was legit and now I got my answer. I am going to used that information to be a lot more careful when I am searching for scholarship. I already have enough marketing information coming into my mailbox each week from marketers I don’t need anymore. I am not sure if you already answer this question in a earlier post but I would like to know how do I go about finding scholarships for students who are over the age of 25. I am having a hard time finding scholarship and at this present time I am currently attending a online school and I am finding a very hard time find acceptable scholarships. If could you please afford me some advice on the scholarships search for my age range or help me better understand the process of the scholarship search.

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Angule Gabriel March 27, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Hello

Would it be possible to send the genuine ones so that I refer a number of our clients to them?
Are there scholarship that do not have age limit factor?

I need one

Angule Gabriel
Kakamega Kenya

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Roshan Bhatt March 28, 2010 at 12:05 am

Thanks for the information u gave to us.iam a 17 year student from Nepal.I nneed the money to aid my studies.Can i know the criteria required to get this scholarship?still remaining in nepal?

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Wadzani Jabani March 28, 2010 at 2:15 am

Im so happy to have read this, i got tired in filling these forms coz i can’t count how many times i did that and later thought it waz a fake site, but i really need to get a scholarship inorder to help my studies, so how possible it is for me to get it.

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Lilian March 28, 2010 at 5:21 am

How can I get scholarships to pay for my tuition. For I’ve just been offered an undergraduate admission by a university in Canada and I’m in dire need of funds to pay my tuition fees and take care of other study expenses. Please how and where can I get help concerning my situation.
Thanks.

Yours Sincerely

Lilian

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biplob kor March 28, 2010 at 5:27 am

I been filling out all the scholarship I can.

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Oby Samuel March 28, 2010 at 5:29 am

How can I get scholarships to pay for my tuition. For I’ve just been offered an undergraduate admission by a university in Canada and I’m in dire need of funds to pay my tuition fees and take care of other study expenses. Please how and where can I get help concerning my situation.
Thanks.

Yours Sincerely

Oby

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Lori March 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

Thank you for your many clarifying points- quite helpful to one as they navigate the waters of the scholarship labyrinth!

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Merlin March 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Does anybody actually know anybody who has one such a “scholarship”?
They might just always be the same people who win, as stated in an earlier post…they might be the kids of the owners of the website or something like that.

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SEmanou Franklin March 28, 2010 at 6:58 pm

IS Scholarship for Self-Financed Student available in Russia.покажу because i desperately need one!!!!!!!!!!!!! i tried getting one from the states but its limited to only citizens

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Billee March 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Excellent article. Thanks for the info. I suspected most of what you explained, which is why I don’t use my main email address when I sign up for these. I opened a free AOL account which I use anytime I sign up for something free and/or a “scholarship” drawing. That way, when I start getting all kinds of emails from other companies, they’re not cluttering up my main email account.

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Salo March 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Hi
I want to get the scholarship more in detail. what type of drawing can it be? i am very much interested for the drawing.

thanks

salo

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ZHANYL March 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Hello, i need some grants or scholatship available for students from Central Asia( i mean for myself) to support my education, i mean Master degree. i was accepted to the program but i couldn’t find financial resources to fund my Master degree. please i need your help and suggestion.
Thanks a lot.
sincerely, Zhanyl;):):)

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alina March 29, 2010 at 4:29 am

hello! i am a working adult and i want scholarship for my better future, living in asia, but the form provided doesnt have any column for “my country i.e Pakistan” , it only includes states from united states.
please guide n help me.

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Zerihun Abera March 29, 2010 at 6:26 am

Hello
i am zerihun Abera from Ethiopia. I graduated my first degree from Adama University ,Ethiopia ,In Business Adiministration. Know i am teaching different management courses at Dilla University,Ethiopia. I am looking for free scholarship to develop my further education in related fields or Engineering fields. so, i kindly request your support and guide to achieve this objective.
thank you

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uttampreetsingh March 29, 2010 at 8:12 am

i think its fake i cannot beleive any person will support us for studies on net it’s fake totally fake

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Jen March 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

I am/was a 40 something year old returning student post divorce. I work a full time job that requires a lot of travel so I was looking for on-line programs.

The first education I learned is that any site that helps “match you” to an educational program is not “matching you” with anything other than giving your information to high pressure sales staff. Even brick and mortar reputable schools with an on-line extension outsource the on-line programs to “high pressure sales staff” that will try to fast talk you into a contract you can’t afford. Some of the on-line schools are plastered all over “rip off report” and other consumer watch sites. I was shocked at what I learned.

The second lesson I learned was scholarships are 80% scam. I spent a solid year writing essays, completing forms, having “friend” vote on pictures of this, that and the other thing and all I got was a lot of SPAM and telemarketing calls to “earn six-figures with this business to pay for school”. Of course they never tell you what the business is until you go to a website to sign up for more spam. I remember one site, by the end of the month increased emails from 1X a day to 30X a day – I never figures out what the business was or what they were selling just a bunch of videos from a front guy looking for my credit card information “to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams”. I learned the art of setting up a SPAM account to get no obligation information after this noteable annoyance. I also learned about setting up a dummy phone number with Skype that automatically goes to voice mail. I check it once a week or so. Keeps the peace and quiet.

The REAL scholarships are funded by non-profits, professional organizations, etc. They usually require a demonstration of capability as well as your GPA.

For the thousands of applications I sent, not one panned out. I took a cheaper route with American Military University and although I am in the honors program with a 3.89 GPA out of a possible 4.0, I am not a priority/preference from a demographic standpoint for most scholarship programs.

The best bet, look for a part time job for a year to save some money and/or a full time job with generous tuition reombursement.

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Elaine F. March 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm

THANK YOU! Very well said. It was much needed and appreciated!

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Lucy March 30, 2010 at 2:52 am

hello,and thank you very much for giving us some light of what one is getting herself or himself into. But there is something i’m not clear with, what do these marketers use the information we give for and could it be disadvantageous to students or it’s just a mere assistance we offer, which would be a good thing to do. What does a marketing company do?

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Amandi Simon Dickens March 30, 2010 at 7:34 am

My name is Amandi Simon Dickens, and I have been looking for the real scholarship awarding Organizations in order to apply for the scholarship opportunity for the graduate Theological Seminary Education in overseas. I have tried to apply for such online scholarships, but all in vain. As a result. I lost great opportunity for studies in Canada last year due to lack of such true and reliable scholarships. How can I get the real schlarship awardind christian organizations that can help me fulfill and achieve my dream for the Graduate Theological Seminary Education abroad?
Would be very grateful if you gave me the list of such christian organizations that you know will be able to help me do that.
Thank,
Amandi Simon Dickens
From Kampala- Uganda

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Anonymous March 30, 2010 at 7:40 am

My name is Amandi Simon Dickens, and I have been looking for the real scholarship awarding Organizations in order to apply for the scholarship opportunity for the graduate Theological Seminary Education in overseas. I have tried to apply for such online scholarships, but all in vain. As a result,I lost great opportunity for studies in Canada last year due to lack of such true and reliable opportunities. How can I get the real schlarship awarding christian organizations abroad that can help me fulfill and achieve my dream for the Graduate Theological Seminary Education abroad?
I Would be very grateful if you gave me the list of such christian organizations that you know will be able to help me do that.
Thank you very much my brother,
Amandi Simon Dickens
From Kampala- Uganda

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naga purnima March 31, 2010 at 1:25 am

my name is purnima, iam from india, I am very glad that you give me the information about this scholarship. I hope I can get it because I really need it to support my proffession, .I am looking forward to receiving it. Thank you .
Yours sincerely,

naga purnima

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M.Aitezaz Ahsan Awan March 31, 2010 at 3:54 am

My name is M.Aitezaz Ahsan. Sir i want to know more about how can i get the scholarship. So please sir give me information about selection criteria and the procedure.

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mary March 31, 2010 at 9:30 am

I’m really glad you addressed this issue. and i have been wondering myself if anyone actually won any money for it. I’ve filled out at least 4 of them, but do realize that they aren’t real scholarships. But it’s great to hear that you are working so hard to help us get it.

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Faith Zulu April 1, 2010 at 7:35 am

lm really glad that they are people out there in the world that still care like you do.my question is can l still get a scholarship for where lm studying without having to relocate to another place.l really do one so badly.times are hard and will take anything to help ease the burden on my mother.

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Jonathan G. David April 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I am a studnet of the University of Liberia, reading a course in Economic and Accounting, I love to be get a scholarship if I will be given a chance/

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musbahu sani April 5, 2010 at 6:31 am

I am very happy and its high time to won this reputable scholarship,poor i am,from Nigeria inspite of all strong I have no assistace from any body to further my study.
I obtained my diploma leading in english language.I need this scholarship very badly,I want someone to mercy on me.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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usman jude April 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

thank you very much for the information.i am from nigeria.i want the scholaship for my sturdies.can i get an elite on how to participate?thanks

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anon July 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

thank you for posting this.

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michelle December 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

I signed up for scholarshipzone.com and not only have I never won anything, but I get several phone calls a DAY from blocked phone numbers. I picked it up once and they asked if I’m interested in going back to school. I told them I’m already in school and graduating in a year and a half. I find it strange that Scholarship Zone would sell information to online schools if the person applying for a scholarship is obviously in school already or has at least already chosen one -_-

and all these foreign people commenting asking for money need to GTFO.

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Mehwish March 19, 2011 at 6:01 am

Hello I am MehwisH i am from Pakistan.I am a poor girl and i want to study further my parents cant afford my study expenditures.So please help me in taht.I really need a help by you people.
Thank you .
Please reply me at my e-mail id.
Mehwish Ejaz

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Helen March 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Just want to say thank you for taking the time to inform people about this. It really does help a lot.

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