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Paying for college without getting taken

Karen Stiles

Paying for college without getting taken

By Karen Stiles. CREATED Jun 25, 2013

MILWAUKEE - Are you or a loved one worried about how to pay for college? Well there are a number of options. But, you need to be careful to avoid getting taken.

So what kind of scams should people watch out for?

This is the time of year when scam artists know that students and their families will be searching for funds. Some of the common tricks that they will use to scam people include: Phony e-mails that try to phish for passwords, banking or other personal information, ads and e-mails with promises of grants or other funds if a student pays a fee, or too good to be true job offers that promise big bucks for little or no effort.

How do you know if an offer is legitimate or a scam?

Some scammers try to pose as being connected to a school or the U.S. Department of Education. Before you click on links or provide information, pay attention and think things through. Look at the web address. Most legitimate e-mails and websites will end in .gov, .edu, or .org. If you see a different extension, watch out. Think twice before providing bank account, student ID, or social security numbers. And, never pay to receive funds or a grant. When in doubt, check things out with the financial aid office of your school.

What options are there for students and families who are lacking funds for school?

Make sure that you have filled out the free application for federal student aid, also known as FAFSA. If you are not being awarded enough funds, consult a reputable financial institution that may be able to assist you in obtaining a parent or private loan. Also, talk to a financial aid counselor at your school. Some will offer additional funds for unique situations. And, consider going part-time or attending a community college for the first semester or two. This can significantly reduce the cost per credit for basics courses.