How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

Read the following tips on how to avoid common scams:

  • No processing fee is required to obtain Title IV grants from the Department of Education.
  • A student should never provide bank account or credit card information over the phone unless he or she initiated the call and trusts the company he or she is calling.
  • A legitimate organization only needs information such as hobbies, past grades or other demographic information.
  • Search firms cannot "guarantee" scholarships or complete the application process.
  • Although a business may say millions of dollars go unclaimed each year, most of the unclaimed dollars are employer-paid benefits that are unavailable to many students.
  • For information about preventing financial aid scams, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov/lsa.

Free Information

For free, reliable information regarding the financial aid search process, contact a high school counselor or financial aid office at a local college, university or career technology center. Financial aid seminars may also be sponsored at a nearby high school or higher education institution.

Been Scammed? Need to Report or File a Complaint?

If you think you've already been scammed by a financial aid search firm, report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has an online complaint form and a hotline at 877.FTC.HELP (877.382.4357 or 866.653.4261 for the hearing impaired).

Online Resources About Avoiding Scholarship Scams and Identity Theft