BBB Warns of Bogus Financial Aid Assistance

Feb 22, 2011

As students and parents struggle to fill out the FAFSA form to pay for college next year, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary of some companies offering scholarship or financial aid money. The businesses reportedly claim that they will be able to provide help in securing some scholarships and potential financial aid. Last year, the BBB received nearly 400 complaints nationwide from students and parents by scholarship and financial aid companies.

Gabriel Perales, Trade Practices Manager for the BBB in Austin, cautions students and parents to use their best judgment when looking for student aid.

“Really it’s only the institution and the Federal Government that will be able to determine how much money you will or can receive,” Perales told KUT.

One of the complaints the bureau received involved a direct mailer notifying students that they were selected to receive a scholarship or financial aid by setting up an interview. The students who responded discovered that their personal interview was actually a financial aid group seminar targeted by these companies to help them with their application process.

“If you ever receive a legitimate scholarship offer or financial aid offer, they will never ask you for any information that is relevant to your bank account or your credit card number,” Perales told KUT. Parales reminds students and parents that most scholarship and financial aid information is widely available in books, libraries, financial aid offices, and on the internet.