College Planning Specialists

August 1, 2007

How Previlent are College Scholarship Scams?

College tuition costs have been running out of control for decades, as students and parents search for answers to how they will finance an education. The sheer desperation of this problem has spawned a growing concern amongst families: the college scholarship scam. The Federal Trade Commission along with the Department of Education have been attempting to police this growing problem. Part of their program is to raise awareness of the scams, what to look for in a scam, and how to avoid these predators.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any good “huckster” worth his sleezy salt will tryout the following lines in order to get into your pocketbook:

* “You can’t get this information anywhere else!”

* “Your a finalist”. . . in a contest you never entered

* “We will do all the work”

* “I just need your credit card number or bank account number to hold this scholarship”

* “The scholarship will cost some money”

* “You have been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to received a scholarship”

* “The Scholarship is guaranteed or your money back”

If you or your family decide to attend a seminar on college financing or scholarships be aware of the following steps which may help you from making a big mistake:

* “Do a background investigation, via Google and other search engines, on the company providing scholarship help. Interview a financial adviser or guidance counselor. You may be able to get the same help for free.

*Take your time at the seminar, don’t rush to sign a contract on the spot, and remember that “great opportunities” are those that are not sold on a rakish pressurized basis. *

*Be wary of “success stories” or testimonials of extraordinary success. Stories related at a seminar are just unsubstantiated rumors. Ask for a list of at least three local families who’ve used the services in the last year.

* Do not purchase from salespeople who are unwilling or vague when answering your questions. If it feels funny and sounds funny it most likely is not right.

*Ask the cost of the service, the types of services performed, and the company’s refund policy. If this information is NOT in writing it is worthless to you the consumer.

The FTC recommends that parents consult a Certified Public Accountant before agreeing to any “scholarship” or group which claims to help students receive scholarship monies. Their preferred company is College Parents of America at http://www.collegeparents.org.

If you have any questions please contact either Dan Evertsz or Dean Guadagni at dean_guadagni@yahoo.com

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3 Comments »

  1. These are all good guidelines for evaluating a service. My personal opinion is that financial aid information should be free! There are a few good pay services, but there are a ton of great free ones.

    Comment by OnlineFinaidWorker — January 17, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  2. It should be free but often times services are not free. The great thing about the blogosphere is that the media business model is changing. Murdoch takes the WSJ off paid subscription to free as does NY Times. These events signal the facts:

    1. Paid advertising in print is quickly evaporating
    2. Content drives readership which drives online advertising revenue.

    Apply this Paradigm Shift in print media to your idea that info should be free and sooner than later it will all be free and the sponsors of this info will monetize through their online ads.

    dean

    Comment by deansguide — January 17, 2008 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  3. That’s good idea, very intestine I think students can to learn new knowledge.

    ————–

    chamila

    sign up free on FastWeb to get tons of free info on scholarships sent directly to you http://snurl.com/scholarshipinfo%3c/a>

    Comment by chamila — April 22, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Reply


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