More than $22 million in fraudulent scholarships have been uncovered in recent years, affecting 175,000 college students. These types of scams are especially bad since they take advantage of the very people that can afford it the least. Students are promised that millions of dollars in funding for tuition are available and all they have to do is pay some “processing fees” to unlock those funds. Prior to applying for a scholarship you’re unsure of, always check the official FTC government site about scholarships scams.
Often times these fraudsters will use fake testimonials, and trust logos from sites like the BBB or government agencies to pass themselves off as legitimate. Some of the most recent organizations to be called out as fraudsters by the FTC include Career Assistance Planning, Inc., College Assistance Services, Inc., Deco Consulting Services, Inc., National Grant Foundation, Inc., National Scholarship Foundation, Inc., Student Aid Incorporated, Student Assistance Services, Inc. (formerly known as Student Financial Services, Inc.), and Christopher Ebere Nwalgwe and Udoka Maduka (who did business as Higher Education Scholarship Program; National Health Scholarship Program, Division of Nursing; National Scholarship Program; National Management Scholarship Program; and National Science Program, Division of Biological Sciences).
Another trick used by these scam artists is to act as consultants who will help maximize financial aid. They ensure that the FAFSA forms are filled out incorrectly the first time, causing an adjustment letter to be issued by the government showing a decrease in the amount of aid given. When the families call the consultants worried about not being able to afford the tuition now, the consultants (for a fee, of course) will simply “correct” the FAFSA forms and resubmit them.
According to the FTC, other things to look for are statements such as:
- The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.
- You can’t get this information anywhere else.
- I just need your credit car or bank account number to hold this scholarship.
- We’ll do all the work.
- The scholarship will cost some money.
- You’ve been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to receive a scholarship.
- You’re a finalist” in a contest that the student has never entered.
Finally, beware of any scholarships or grants that require an “advance fee” or “processing fee”, since no legitimate financial aid or scholarship offers will ask for money. The simple rule is, if you have to pay money to get money – it’s a scam. If you’re still not sure, or need help reviewing an offer, feel free to contact us and we’ll help any way we can.
If you found the previous article informative, you should check out more in our college life section, or read some of these articles below:
- College Textbooks Search Tool
- The Next Financial Bubble – Student Loans
- The Real Cost of Tuition and How To Pay Less
- Financial Aid For Military – GI Bill and Beyond
- Scholarship Fraud on a Massive Scale
- College Review – University of Phoenix
- The College Board and Corruption in College Testing
- Bet You $100 You Can’t Get an A
- Deceptive Practices by Credit Card Companies on Campus
- 18 of the Weirdest Scholarships for College
- Bullshit Your Way to an “A”
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