Financial Aid Scam - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Financial Aid Scam

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If you've been to college or have a child attending, then you know how the financial aid process can quickly seem confusing and overwhelming. So paying someone to help you, seems like a nice idea, but as News Channel 5's Natalie North found out, it will only hurt instead of help.

Audra Seymour is looking forward to starting her college career at UL-Laffayette in the fall, but right now she is finishing up her senior year at Pineville High. And just like her friends, she has been applying for college scholarships and financial aid. But a financial aid offer she received raised some questions.

Audra says, "well I got this letter in the mail for scholarships and stuff, because everyone is looking for a way to make college cheaper." Audra had already finished the application process, so she showed her mom the letter out of concern.

"But it's funny because my mom is a registrar and she knew this was a fraud. It alarmed me because I knew that FAFSA was the official thing and this says SAPF, and I was like that's not right," added Audra.

The letter looked like an official government document with a watermark and letterhead - but after a little digging herself, Teresa Seymour learned that her daughter Audra wasn't the only senior who was contacted.

Teresa explains, "Some students in the area have been getting letters from something called the student financial resource center. They are asking students to pay in order get their financial aid processed. That is not something that any agency or government institution asks for. So we want to make people aware that this is likely a fraud situation, it is a scam."

As a parent and college registrar, Teresa says she wants other parents to learn how to spot legitimate offers for financial aid.

Teresa says, "The federal application for federal aid is free, that's at www.fafsa.ed.gov web site. And all the school will have a link to that on their financial aid web page's. Particularly to high school students, we want them to be aware as they enter the college application process, they do not have to pay for financial aid."

The official web site to apply for financial aid is www.fafsa.ed.gov

For more information on scholarship scams, visit the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION'S web site at

www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams

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