WATCH OUT FOR SCHOLARSHIP SCAMS!!!
Recognizing the Scammer
1. States you've won an award for which you didn't apply.
2. Guarantees you will win an award.
3. Requires personal financial information (such as credit card numbers or checking account numbers) to "verify" or "hold" a scholarship.
A legitimate scholarship service:
1. Sends information about awards when you request it.
2. Makes contact information available upon request.
3. Should not direct you to a fee-based provider because they know that financial aid information is readily available for free.
Popular (But False!) Claims
"For a small fee, we'll give you a list of scholarships."
Never spend money on a fee-based matching service. The biggest and best award databases are available for free on the Internet.
"6.6 billion in scholarships went unclaimed last year."
Statements about unclaimed awards are misleading. They generally refer to tuition reimbursements that aren't available to the public. Scholarships are competitive and are awarded.
"You are guaranteed a minimum of $1,000 in awards."
A service can't guarantee any scholarships because they have no control over the scholarship committee decisions.
"We will do all the work for you."
To win a legitimate scholarship, you must submit your own applications, write your own essays, and solicit your own letters of recommendation. There is no way to avoid doing the work.
If You Suspect a Scam
1. Save all forms you receive from the suspect company. Keep copies of written details about the offer and any correspondence.
2. Take notes during any seminar or phone conversations. Record the date, time, phone numbers, and the person's name with whom you spoke.
3. Report the suspected scammer to any of the following:
National Fraud Information Center Ph: 800-876-7060
Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) Ph: 877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
Better Business Bureau Ph: 703-276-0100
Selected Web Sites
Federal Student Financial Aid Information – includes text publications from the U.S. Department of Education: www.ed.gov/studentaid
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – apply on the Web and for federal school codes: www.fafsa.ed.gov (required to qualify for the Tennessee Hope Scholarship)
CSS Profile (required for many private institutions): http://profileonline.collegeboard.com
Free Scholarship Search Services – www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, www.college-scholarships.com/100college.htm, www.fastap.org,http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp
Calculators for Estimated Family Contribution Figure:http://profileonline.collegeboard.com/index.jsp
Register with the Selective Service: www.sss.gov
Tennessee Hope Scholarship - www.state.tn.us/tsac
Georgia Hope Scholarship -www.dtae.org/hope