Earlier this month, about 1,500 Utah State University employees received a spam e-mail advertising a hazing awareness scholarship opportunity for students. The scholarship requires a $5 application fee, and at least one student has paid the fee. University Scholarship Coordinator Patti Kohler said that such fees are not conducive to a legitimate scholarship. “We do not recommend that students pay an application fee to apply for any type of scholarship,” Kohler said. The IT Security of USU has since completed an investigation of the spam e-mail and scholarship and has come to the conclusion there are no funds to back up the money claim behind the scholarship, and that it seemed to be connected to an advertising scam for the company. All 1,500 employees were notified of the findings through a detailed e-mail. The young woman who applied was told she’d receive a cash award, and instead got a book about hazing awareness in the mail. The hazing awareness aspect of the scholarship does seem to be legitimate, Kohler said. Also a red flag for possible applicants, Kohler said, is the fact that the scholarship winner would not be chosen on merit, rather a random selection of application completeness. Kohler recommends students apply for scholarships through the individual university departments or colleges. Each department has their own application. To research private scholarships, she suggests using the search website finaid.org. This may require a general site fee, but has nothing to do with the scholarships and is OK to pay, she said.
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