College Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams
Scam: "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back!"
Scammers are busy
students who are making decisions loans for higher education, creating financial
aid schemes. There are also legitimate companies that offer scholarship database searches,
so choosing a company becomes all the more difficult to separate the scams from
the legitimate ones.
The Federal Trade Commission has been going after scammers who guaranteed scholarships but deliver little. On the other hand, the FTC doesn't take action against companies that charge fees for information that is publicly available and students can find themselves. That's not illegal, it's just dumb to pay for information which is publicly available.
The FTC must find that there are unfulfilled promises and misrepresentations in a sales pitch in order for the FTC to go after the company. In 2006, the FTC obtained a U.S. District Court order to ban the "National Student Financial Aid" from offering student aid services. The FTC charged that NSFA collected more than $10 million by falsely promising to obtain better financial aid packages for victims.
- How to avoid a college scholarship scam? See this page for the details!
- Don't pay for applications and lists - here are free resources to find a scholarship, grant or loan.
- Scholarship scammers: see this list of defendants - known scholarship, grant and loan scammers
- Master List of legitimate scholarship programs
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!