Millions of students depend on grants and scholarships to pay for college, and applying for financial aid can be confusing.
Some companies claim they can help, but they often end up charging fees for information and assistance that students could have gotten for free elsewhere!
Before paying a company to find financial aid for college, do your research and listen for the following red flags:
- “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.” No one can guarantee they will get you a grant or scholarship. Refund guarantees usually have so many conditions or strings attached that it is almost impossible for consumers to get their money back.
- “You can’t get this information anywhere else.” Scholarship information is widely available in books, at libraries, at financial aid offices and on the Internet.
- “We’ll do all the work.” Only students and parents can determine and provide the financial information needed to complete the forms.
- “You’ve been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship.” If you have not entered a competition sponsored by the foundation, this claim is highly unlikely.
- “May I have your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship?” This is never a requirement for a legitimate scholarship offer.
- “The scholarship will cost some money.” Legitimate scholarship offers never require payment of any kind.
In 2015, your Better Business Bureau is offering a $10,000 scholarship to one lucky high school senior in Western Washington, Oregon or Alaska. It is 100% free to enter–all it takes is a little creativity! Click here for details.