Students can find unclaimed college scholarships through a variety of sources, including high school counselors, professional organizations, ethnic organizations, foundations and civic groups, reports Federal Student Aid. They can also contact federal agencies, state agencies and college financial aid offices. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a free scholarship search tool, which lists over 7,000 available scholarships and other forms of college financial aid as of 2015, points out the agency's website.
The thousands of scholarships that schools and organizations offer are free gifts that students do not have to repay, according to Federal Student Aid. Some are merit-based, and students earn them through their special talents or academic achievements, while others focus on helping specific types of students, such as women or people from certain backgrounds. Information about scholarship opportunities is freely available, and students should be wary of businesses that claim to find scholarship opportunities for a fee, as scholarship scams are common.
Every scholarship has particular guidelines about when and how to apply, but many require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, explains Federal Student Aid. The quickest and easiest way to complete a FAFSA is online at FAFSA.gov. Filling in and submitting a FAFSA also makes students eligible for Federal Pell Grants, which offer students another option to receive free funds to help with college. Some private scholarship opportunities are contingent upon students qualifying for Federal Pell Grants.