Fastweb is one of the best known scholarship search websites, and it earned a solid score of 71 out of 100.
Founded in 1995, Fastweb prides itself on being the original college scholarship search website. With decades of experience, Fastweb is a well-respected search engine that has certainly adapted with the times. Currently, Fastweb’s database contains some 1.5 million scholarships, worth more than $3.4 billion, featuring regularly updated opportunities with a wide range of deadlines.
Fastweb is particularly proud of the strict vetting process that all of its scholarships go through, and it has a team of researchers dedicated to looking out for new opportunities and avoiding scams.
Like most other scholarship platforms, students use Fastweb by creating a profile. High school students, current undergraduates, and current graduate students can all use Fastweb, as there are scholarships both for prospective college students and those in the midst of their university education.
The more detailed the profile — in terms of filling in grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, employment history, family information, skills, and interests — the better Fastweb is able to match students with relevant scholarships. Additionally, Fastweb’s database includes numerous internships and part-time jobs, and they also have quick links to lists of scholarships for African-American students, bilingual students, veterans, current college freshmen, and more.
Although Fastweb dates back to 1995, its user interface is very 2019. Registering is a simple, streamlined process, and it allows students to decide how much or how little communication they want to receive. Specifically, they can choose whether they want to be notified by email about upcoming scholarship deadlines, new scholarship matches, and part-time jobs and internships, or if they want to receive Fastweb’s newsletter.
Fastweb makes an effort to ensure that students do not receive unwanted marketing communications; when registering, students can easily opt out of receiving mail from colleges, universities, internships, and loan providers. However, users often have to skip through “special offers” from Fastweb’s partners when they log on to the site, and they also encounter banner ads from other companies that have purchased advertising space on Fastweb.
Ads even appear embedded in the list of matched scholarships. This can be distracting and can sometimes feel like an invasion of privacy when those ads are clearly related to the personal information disclosed in one’s Fastweb profile.
Although Fastweb undoubtedly lists many excellent scholarships, they do not appear to have any unique funding that can’t be found anywhere else. Additionally, although scholarship matches can be filtered in terms of deadline, funding amount, location, college, and major, it can be somewhat confusing to see internships, fellowships, and volunteer opportunities also listed among the scholarships.
As Fastweb is essentially a scholarship clearinghouse, students can’t use their Fastweb profile as part of their application — it’s only purpose is to help them find matching scholarships. As with many of the other databases, students will have to follow the links to each scholarship’s website and complete all of the requirements there. No matter how impressive one’s Fastweb profile is, this won’t be seen by scholarship panels.