The pressure is on for millions of high school seniors across the country as the deadline to make final college decisions is May 1st.
While many students are making their choices, many are also on the hunt for scholarships to help pay for college. But should students pay money to receive money? Some say paying for scholarship search services could get you ahead of the game.
Sabrina Chiu is a recent graduate of the University of Florida. As a first-generation college student, Chiu is a success story. Along with graduating debt free, she went on to work for a Fortune 500 company.
“I was able to go to college. I was able to go my four years without a penny coming out of my pocket," Chiu said. "I come from a lower income first generation family. So, I am the first in my family to attend college and attend college.”
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Chiu applied for dozens of scholarships with "The Scholarship Plug Program." Shedly Casseus Parnther is the CEO and founder of the program and said the goal is to have each student apply to at least 100 scholarships.
“You have to maximize your chances," she said.
Parnther has over 15 years of college and financial aid experience working with students in Broward County. She has turned her passion into a specialized business, connecting students with grants and scholarships. For a fee, the student receives professional advice.
"The Scholarship Plug" is just one of dozens of paid services available for those who want to take their scholarship search a step up. None of these services guarantee that the student will be awarded scholarships or grants.
To date, Parnther says she’s helped over 1500 students locally receive thousands for school. Chiu is one of her success stories who said she’s thankful for the hand up.
“I defiantly would use her as a resource going into that senior year of high school. From navigating scholarships, essays applications to essays,” Chiu said.
Parnther tells students to talk with family members who successfully gone through the scholarship process. She also encourages students to speak with school guidance counselor, or call the financial aid office at your prospective school.