College stuff: avoiding scams

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Avoiding Financial Aid Scams

By Ariana Arredondo

 

Everyone is scrambling to gather the money necessary for college. From grants and scholarships to loans and financial aid, the process of paying for your education can get a bit frustrating. However it is extremely important to be careful and avoid scams.

 

Paying for help

 

According to Carolyn Lindley, University Director of Financial Aid at Northwestern University, there are many sites and companies that offer advice services

for up to $1,000 and sometimes even more. These companies often guarantee that they will be able to cover most, if not all, of a student`s college

expenses. This in itself is not a scam, but it’s a different story if the company fails to deliver what it promised. It is up to you to decide whether or not you

want to use a financial advice service. However, it is crucial that you look at and compare different services so that your money is put to good use and you

receive what you pay for. If you are going to be paying to receive information that you can otherwise get for free with a bit of research, then you`re better

off saving your money.

 

Identity theft

 

Your social security number, credit card number, or any other personal information can be at risk when searching for aid options. There are a few things to

remember when looking at different offers or sources of information online. Never give out any sort of information unless you are sure it is a secure site.

Keep receipts and logs of money you apply for and receive as well as who you released what information to. Finally, do not share your personal information

with any friends or classmates and keep documents of your information in a safe place. This is all recommended on the finaid.org website where they also

provide other warning signs to look for when applying for aid. Don’t get completely discouraged about searching for help online because there are many

reliable resources out there. Two others include fafsa.gov and studentloans.gov. Looking for funds for college can be stressful but you can`t forget to be

safe.

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