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Grants and Scholarships: Avoid Scams

Avoiding Scams

Key Points to avoid scams:

  • Don't pay for financial aid advice/locator/application service! Information on finding and how to apply should be available for FREE! The act of charging for these services is not illegal, however the service may not deliver what they promised (at this point it's fraud and you should report them, especially to avoid possible identity theft). If the sales pitch sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • DO NOT PAY for your FAFSA form as it is a FREE form and anyone offering help to fill it out for a cost is not affiliated with the Department of Education. 
  • DO NOT PAY for help with your student loans. Any assistance that you need or questions that you have should go directly to your loan provider. 
  • Any nongovernment aid should also be free to apply for and have all information freely available online. 
    • Never provide financial information.
    • Do not pay for information, to apply for the scholarship, or to receive the scholarship. You should never have to give money to apply for or receive a scholarship.
    • Always use reputable sources for your search. Many phony websites are set up to trick you into providing personal or financial information.
    • Know that you can find all information about scholarships yourself. This information is freely available, and you do not need special access to get it.
    • To learn more about warning signs, please see: Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: Avoiding Scholarship Scams
  • College Board: Avoiding Scholarship Scams