College Scams


Not everyone has your best interests at heart. Students need to be careful of the people who are out to make money and scam you. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Do your research to be sure that you are making wise decisions.


  • Rely on free resources through the Federal Student Aid website provided by the Office of the US Department of Education to help find funds for college. Completing a FASFA form does not cost you anything to fill out.

  • Research any companies asking for money: talk to friends/family, school officials, visit websites, etc.. Hang up the phone immediately if someone is calling asking for money. Call the school's financial aid office or the company directly to be sure it is legitimate.

  • Do report scams to local police and file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection at

  • Be skeptical about job opportunities that promise a lot of money for little work that ask for an upfront fee.

  • If you want to get a credit card, do your own research instead of responding to solicitations.

  • Do apply for scholarships and do the work that it takes.


  • Don't pay upfront fees in order to process scholarships, grants, and financial aid services.

  • Don't pay a third party for an unpaid tuition bill. Call the school's financial aid office and verify information before doing anything with money.

  • Don't pay anyone money for an online job that is promised.

  • Don't pay for books online from websites that you don't know and trust. Some websites are out there to offer incredible deals and then never deliver books.

  • Don't accept a credit card offer without researching the terms and the company first.

  • Don't pay financial fees to apply for a scholarship. According to FinAid, some companies will ask for $5-$35 to process scholarships that should be for free.

  • Don't let anyone pressure you with fear tactics for money.

  • Don't give your social security or bank account number when applying for a scholarship.

  • Don't pay for "redemption fees" or "disbursement fees" in order to get money. If they require money before you get your money, it may be a scam.

  • Don't assume that a scholarship offer from a third party that you did not apply for is legitimate. Money doesn't just fall out of the sky--you usually have to apply for a scholarship and ask for it.