Seniors: Beware of financial aid scams


Applying for financial aid can be complicated, and the stakes are high. You may have received offers of help in the mail or see them on the Web and in magazines. Some of these are legitimate. Others are from individuals or companies trying to make money off unsuspecting students and parents. Beware of come- ons like these:

• “This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back!”

• “Attend our seminar to understand how to get more financial aid.”

• “We guarantee you’ll get aid.”

• “The scholarship requires a small fee.”

Never pay a fee to locate scholarship or aid information. And avoid any organization or service that either guarantees a reward or charges a fee for completing the FAFSA or applying for or receiving a scholarship.

Information on legitimate financial aid and scholarships is easily available at no cost at:


The U.S. Department of Education

College Goal Sunday 

The College Board 


• Your local library

• Your high school college counseling

For more information about financial aid and scholarships, see Chapter 16, "Financial Aid," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. Also visit our website,, for additional free resources here.  And check out the latest Financial Aid Checklist for Seniors here

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