Be on the Alert for Scholarship Scams
If there's one sure way for parents to lose precious dollars needed for college, it's this: Biting on phony scholarship pitches.
This is the time of year when scam artists ramp up efforts to target families of high school seniors with scholarship awards, low-cost loans and other tuition incentives that offer more hype than hope.
These pitches may sound especially enticing now, given that difficult economic times have prompted more families to apply for financial aid.
Consumer complaints about scholarships and financial aid services more than doubled to 972 in 2009 from 467 in 2008, according to the
Generally, be wary of scholarship pitches that involve application fees, scholarship matching services that guarantee success and sales pitches that are disguised as financial aid seminars, said
Kantrowitz said he's been seeing more loan scams that involve advance fee payments. The lure is an unusually low-interest educational loan, with the requirement that you pay a fee to receive the funding.
Of course, after you pay, the loan never materializes. Legitimate loans, on the other hand, deduct the fees from the disbursement checks.
Here are three variations of tuition scams to watch for, according to FinAid:
-- Scholarships for profit: This type of fake program draws thousands of applications for scholarships and charges fees of
-- Eye on the prize: In this case, you're notified that you've won a scholarship worth thousands of dollars, but you're required to pay a disbursement fee or the taxes before the prize is released.
-- The match game: Be wary of scholarship matching services that guarantee you'll win money or they'll return your funds.
Not all the financial aid sales pitches are scams. Some simply disguise the services being offered, such as invitations to "free seminars" that are really nothing more than an attempt to entice you into buying products or services. Online video workshops are a variation on this theme.
I was recently invited to attend a free (red flag No. 1) online video workshop where the promoters promised to share the "little-known secrets to getting the maximum amount" of college aid money (red flag No. 2). The only step necessary to receive these "insider strategies" (red flag No. 3) was to call a toll-free telephone number and enter my personal RSVP code. The company was never named in the mailing (red flag No.4) or in the recorded message I listened to (red flag No. 5).
Though these "free" offers may be tempting, my advice is to run the paper through the shredder. Better to save your money and spend it on college tuition than to hand it over to some sketchy service that is anything but free.
Available on Amazon.com:
- Be on the Alert for Scholarship Scams
- Save on College Visits
- College Graduates Need to Handle Student Loans Wisely
- Enhancing U.S. Education and Competitiveness
- Big Changes to College Admissions
- StraighterLine Offers Cheap College Credits Online
- The Nonprofit Approach to Online Education
- Here Come $60,000-A-Year Colleges
- Federal Grants and Tax Breaks Help Reduce Tuition Pain
- 4 Steps to Get Free Money in Your College Savings Account
- Rebate Deals Make It Easier to Save for College
- Curtailing Dropouts at Online Universities
- Obama Touts Community Colleges Benefits
- Online Universities: 5 Tips Before You Pursue a Degree
- Online Universities: Online Degrees Gain Respect
- New Analysis Suggests Which Colleges Help Disadvantaged Students
- Government Credit Standards Low For College Parent Loans
- How Do I Get a Parent PLUS Loan?
- Education and Wealth: Strongest Predictors of a Long Life
- Troubled Times: When Mark Zuckerberg's Generosity Is Not Good Enough
- The Great Recession's Toll on Higher Education
- Online Degrees: Learn More Before You Enroll
- Are Online College Courses All That?
- Online Education in the Ivy League
- Some Top International Colleges Offer Free Tuition
- Private Colleges Adopt Car Lot Strategy
- Law School: Rising Demand and Rising Tuition
- How to Eat Healthier at the College Dining Hall
- Recent Grads Reveal Their College Regrets
- Pimp My College Dorm Room!
- Should I Drop This Class?
- Got Homework Overload?
- College Loan Repayment List Reveals Surprises
- Getting into Law School: University of Miami School of Law
- An Evening with Arne Duncan
- The Power of Being Multilingual
- A Revolutionary New Way to Learn
- Frank Assessment of Teacher Performance Not Pleasant but Useful
- How Not to be a Fat Freshman
- Smart Spending and Saving for College Students
- Save Time and Money on School Lunches
- Stretch Your Back-to-school Shopping Dollars
- Education Dollars Well Spent: Liberal Arts Education
- Smart Money Looks Elsewhere: Liberal Arts Education
- Is College Worth It?: Soaring Costs Complicate the Decision
- Reaching College or University of Your Dreams is a Four-Year Process
- Getting into College: Start Sharpening Analytical Skills Early
- Best Value Colleges Give Big Scholarships & Deep Discounts
- The Great College Scholarship Scramble
- Out of State College Tuition at In-State Rates
- The Student Loan Without the Regret
- Campus Orientation Programs Aim to Ease Transition
- Rocketing Past the College Admissions Blunders
- The Right Way to Pitch Yourself to a College
- Narrowing Your College Choices
- Turning Two Years at Community College Into Four
- Different Paths to a College Degree
- Lure of the Gap Year Between High School and College
- Twitter Goes to College
- Standardized Tests Myths: The Truth About the SAT & ACT
- 5 Tips to Getting Along With Your Roommate
- Break That Hovering Habit Early
- Back-to-School Shoppers Hunt for Deals
- Green Your Back-to-School Shopping
- Houston Charter School Sends All its Grads to Four-Year Colleges
- Colleges Joining Effort to Turn Around Skyrocketing Obesity Rates
- College Student Resource Directory
- 5 Tips to Getting Along With Your Roommate
- How Do You Rank as a Roommate?
- New Sites Empower Students to Build Their Own Scholarships
- Why Physician Assistant School May be Right for You
- Getting Back to the College Mindset
- Teaching vs. Teachers Unions
- Girl World Back-to-school Checklist
- Just a Little Food for Thought
- Business Schools Add New Entrepreneur Programs for MBA Students
- Unique MBA Programs Build Leadership Skills
- Tips to Increase Your Odds of Getting a Job at College
- Get Career Goals in Gear This Summer
- Roommate Rifts and Resolutions
- How Changes to the GMAT Will Affect You
- Back to School Countdown
- Alternative Summer Plans for College Students
- Job Market Strategies for Recent Graduates
- Surviving Summer College Classes
- Avoid Getting Stupid This Summer
- 7 Tips for LSAT Test Success
- 6 Tips for GMAT Test Success
- 9 Tips for SAT Test Success
- 6 Tips for ACT Test Success
- Student-tested Tips to Ace Your Final Exams
- Taking The Edge Off Exam Stress
- 5 Social Media Tools for College Students
- 5 Do's and Don'ts for College Students Using Social Media
- Guide to Great Educational Websites for Kids
- Study Skills - Staying Motivated to Study
- Nail That Job Interview
- 10 Cool Gadget Gifts for Grads
- A Lean Mean Stay-fit Exercise Routine
- Smooth Moves to Make Studying More Comfortable
- Inside Scoop on Working in Study Groups
Copyright © 2010 Steve Rosen. All rights reserved.