Each year, an estimated 300,000 students and parents are cheated by scholarship scams, according to the Financial Aid Information Page, a financial aid web site. “Fraudulent scholarship and loan companies are counting on families in desperate need of financial resources to not thoroughly investigate their company,” cautions Bob Williams, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. Scholarship scams have existed for years but with increased usage of the Internet, they are on the rise. Dr. Kenneth Hartman, author of the College Board’s “Internet Guide for College-Bound Students,” and contributor to the College Board’s web site, provides the following warning: “Scholarship scam artists lurk on the World Wide Web, and they could be hazardous to your bank account.”
Several warning signs have been reported to the Financial Aid Information Page and the Better Business Bureau. The following are just a few: Scholarship services requiring fees. Questionable addresses. Unusual requests for personal information.Recently, the Federal Trade Commission found a number of Web sites with deceptive practices. Companies posing as scholarship search or financial-aid foundations charge from about $25 to provide lists of scholarships, to more than $800 to guarantee eligibility for a minimum amount of financial aid. These promises of guarantees are not possible. To identify false claims, consult the following web site: www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams Beware of services that do “all the work”. Students must apply for scholarships and grants. Advice: Don’t give out credit card or bank account information to “hold a scholarship.” Scholarship lists are available at schools and libraries or at www.fastweb.com and www.collegeboard.com
Source: Dallas Martin, Ph.D., president, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Washington D.C. www.nasfaa.org
Source: A Fall Issue of “Higher Education Access” a publication of the Higher Education Center at the Boston Public Library.