Home » Blog: BBB’s Tips for Avoiding Financial Aid Scams (5/1/24)

Blog: BBB’s Tips for Avoiding Financial Aid Scams (5/1/24)

by UNN Feed

While prospective college students await their highly anticipated acceptance letters this spring, they’re also starting to think about finding financial aid. Some companies offer scholarship opportunities or help finding aid for a fee, but are they really the best option for students?

For students struggling to pay for tuition, a sudden scholarship offer or a financial aid company that guarantees results can seem like a dream come true – but it could also be the setup for a scam.

Most scholarship information is available for free. BBB, which awards a Student of Ethics scholarship, recommends students look into free options for finding financial aid, such as speaking with a high school counselor or researching online.

Some scammers will pose as financial aid representatives and use high-pressure tactics to get students to pay a “processing fee” to be eligible for a “guaranteed” scholarship or grant. They may also use a fake scholarship application to steal personal or financial information from applicants.

Fraudulent financial aid companies may promise a money-back guarantee if students can’t secure a scholarship, but they also set so many conditions that it can be impossible to get a refund. Legitimate companies can sometimes help students find scholarships, but they will not guarantee results.

Students should also be on the lookout for unsolicited scholarship offers – especially those asking for an application fee. Most scholarships are free to apply for.

Finding aid can be stressful, but there are plenty of free resources for students that come from reliable voices like the federal government or university counseling.

Tips for avoiding financial aid scams:

  • Check for federal aid first. Students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and find other financial aid resources at studentaid.gov. This no-cost application is a good starting point for your search.

  • Ask trusted sources. Discuss your options with your…

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