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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > May 2011 > Need money for college? Watch for scams

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Need money for college? Watch for scams


With the cost of college steadily increasing, many Ohioans are looking for creative ways to finance a college education.

To apply for federal financial aid for free, visit Other similar-sounding websites and companies may charge fees for their services.

For example, a Central Ohio consumer said she completed what she thought was a free government application for financial aid. She later discovered that it was an application to a student aid advisory service that charged $79 to complete the application. 

Some financial aid companies make false promises for scholarships, grants and financial aid. They may use high pressure sales pitches at seminars where you're required to pay fees, or make false promises that they can get you a scholarship if you pay an advance fee.

Before paying for financial aid help, watch for the signs of a scam:

  • Scholarship applications that cost money
  • A “guaranteed” scholarship
  • Claims of exclusive scholarship information
  • Requests for your credit card information
  • Winning a scholarship for which you never applied
Students also should pay attention to federal and state deadlines for applying for aid. Each college also may have a different deadline. Check with the college(s) you are interested in attending and ask about their deadlines.


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