Beware of Scholarship and Grant Scams

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN- School has not started in the Permian Basin and school has not started in West Texas, but colleges in the area are pretty busy getting ready for a new school semester. 

And that all means students are still filing all the necessary forms to get financial aid they need to continue with their education. But some of those forms can be confusing and some companies promise they will do it for you, but that promise comes with a price that can add up.

"We have students that will come in and they want to go to the community colleges or some place else and they don't want to start at the University, we'll sit down with them, and fill out the FAFSA whether they are coming here or not and most colleges will do that," Robert Vasquez, Director of Financial Aid at U.T.P.B., said.

The "Free Application for Federal Students Aid," commonly known as FAFSA, is one of the forms students have to file when they go to college and want some sort of help. Robert Vasquez, Director of Financial Aid for UTPB, said the process can be overwhelming for some people and certain companies will take advantage of this.

"When you are looking into your child's education and how you are going to pay for it, it's something that's going to get your attention; it's going to click on," Vasquez said.

These scams are more common than you think. Trish Powell from the Better Business Bureau for the Permian Basin said no one can guarantee you will get a certain amount of money without studying your case.

"They make it sound very good, 'we are going to guarantee you this scholarship or grant, you've won this scholarship or grant, you were in a drawing and you've won.' They make it sound very easy for the business to do it for you," Trish Powell, CEO for the Better Business Bureau, said.

So what can you do to avoid falling into the scams?

"Whenever they get phone call or get some thing in the mail, just reject it, just don't do anything with it.  If they really think it's a good thing, call the College, call the University, call some place and find out and see if we would do anything about that organization," Vasquez said.

Financial aid experts also recommend not to trust everything you read.