Monday, January 3, 2011

Beware of Financial Aid Scams

Education advocates are urging college students and parents to beware of scams that give the impression of being related to financial aid forms.

Many students currently are filling out college financial aid applications for the coming academic year.

“The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is the first step toward acquiring financial aid for college. The application is just what it says — FREE. Several companies are luring students to their Web site with official-sounding Web addresses and then charging a fee for completion of the FAFSA,” said Ann Hendrick, director of College Planning for Education Services Foundation, a Mississippi non-profit dedicated to helping students get to college.

ESF helped more than 1,300 students and parents complete and submit the FAFSA during 2010 and will be in high schools across the state during the coming months to help with the FAFSA and the Mississippi Financial Aid application.

The foundation is urging students to avoid companies that guarantee financial aid or charge a fee to assist with completing applications.

“The FAFSA has numerous questions that may be confusing to the student or parent,” Hendrick said. “ESF will be happy to assist in completing the FAFSA or answering questions about it at no charge.”

The official Website for online FAFSA completion and submittal is