IL – April 26, 2012 – Millions of people depend on grants and scholarships to
pay for college. Navigating the process of applying for financial aid can be
confusing and some companies claim they can help, but only end up charging
unnecessary fees. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern
Illinois (BBB) recommends doing your research before paying a company to find
financial aid for college.
are tough, money is tight, and families are desperate to find scholarships,”
said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving
Chicago and Northern
Illinois. “While some companies are trying to take advantage of
struggling families looking for funding, the good news is that all of the
information you need is already available for free.”
year, the BBB receives complaints from individuals who paid money upfront to a
company that promised to find scholarships and grants for their child but
ultimately didn’t deliver. In the past twelve months alone, there have been 545
consumer inquiries to the BBB about companies in the “Scholarships &
Financial Aid” category.
recommends listening for the following red flags when receiving a sales pitch from
a financial-aid finder:
“The scholarship is guaranteed or
your money back.”
In reality no one can guarantee they will get you a grant or scholarship. The
refund guarantee offers usually have many conditions or strings attached making
it is almost impossible for consumers to get their money back.
“You cannot get this information
anywhere else.” Scholarship
information is widely available in libraries, financial aid offices and very
conveniently on the internet.
“You have 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
Legitimate scholarship offers never require payment of any kind.
information on finding financial aid for school, visit www.fafsa.gov; the BBB has advice for everyone
on managing personal finances and avoiding scams at www.bbb.org
private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is
to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by
means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising
claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop
and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage
people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.