With the cost of college outpacing inflation and crimping family budgets, students and families are anxious to find scholarships and other awards to help pay for higher education. Legitimate companies can help students find aid, but they will never promise results.
The standard application for financial aid is FAFSA and is free, which students and their parents can complete themselves. Information on many awards is available free online or public and school libraries.
BBB advises students and their parents:
· To be cautious of websites and seminars that promise to find scholarships, grants or financial aid packages for a fee.
· To be cautious if a student has been selected as finalists but has to pay a fee to be eligible for the award.
· Be cautious if a company is reluctant to answer any questions you have about the service or the process
· Ask about fees associated with a professional financial aid search and the company's refund process. Companies may promise a money-back guarantee, but can set conditions so that it's almost impossible to get a refund.
· Beware of letters or emails saying you've been selected to receive a scholarship for a contest you never entered.