- Most comprehensive scholarship database.
- Protects your data.
- Easy user experience.
- No ads or unrelated offers.
- Scholarships matched to you.
- Funding isn’t exclusive to platform.
- Applications are off-site.
The Bottom Line:
Sallie Mae is the place to start if you’re looking for scholarships. Use their comprehensive scholarship search to get an idea of what’s out there and quickly hone in on the funding opportunities best suited to you.
After assessing the merits and shortcomings of 15 different scholarship platforms, we found that, overall, the best scholarship platform was Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search, which earned a total score of 86 out of 100 across all of the scoring categories. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Sallie Mae’s reputation and decades-long involvement with education loans and student savings tools.
Currently, Sallie Mae boasts a scholarship platform that gives students access to a pool of available funding worth $24 billion, spread across over 5 million scholarships. This was the most funding of all the platforms we analyzed. Sallie Mae also earned a high score for the breadth of available scholarship opportunities, which range from traditional merit scholarships to those specifically designed for students with particular hobbies, skills, or interests.
The platform also features a variety of new scholarship opportunities and many with rapidly approaching deadlines. The scholarships can be easily sorted by amount or deadline, so that students can organize their time effectively in order to decide which scholarships to apply for and when to submit applications. The scholarship list is updated daily, which makes Sallie Mae a very useful tool for students who are in the midst of determining how they will finance their education. The scholarships range in value from several hundred dollars all the way up to full tuition.
The vast majority of Sallie Mae’s funding is not unique to that platform, as it simply provides access to a scholarship database, albeit a very extensive one. In other words, most of the scholarships listed on the Sallie Mae platform can also be found in other scholarship databases. However, Sallie Mae does have a few exclusive funding opportunities, namely the “Bridging the Dream” scholarships for undergraduate ($25,000) and graduate students ($20,000), as well as a $1,000 monthly sweepstakes open to all users and a $5,000 sweepstakes for National Scholarship Month every November.
The only step that is required to access the database is to register and create a short profile, which is then used to match students with relevant scholarship opportunities. After the registration process, students are taken directly to the scholarship search database, without being presented with any additional offers or having to go through unnecessary steps.
The Sallie Mae site is thoroughly modern and professional, with a clear, user-friendly design that is very easy to navigate around. Registered users can continually return to the platform to search for new scholarships, without ever having to re-enter their information, although they have the option to update and change their profile whenever they want. The Sallie Mae website does not contain any ads, and this provides a clear and distraction-free user experience, with the focus being entirely on finding the most relevant scholarships.
Because it is essentially a search database, the Sallie Mae platform does not allow students to use the same application information for multiple scholarships. Instead, students are directed to the websites of the organizations that actually administer and award these scholarships.
This means that students will have to complete a new application for each scholarship, which typically involves filling out their personal information and writing at least one essay. Unfortunately, scholarship panels will only see the applications submitted to their organization’s own website or email address; they won’t see the detailed profiles that students create on Sallie Mae.