AG urges consumer caution in college aid pitches

Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 11:45pm
Staff reports

You know those paid offers you get when you or your high-schooler is scraping around for financial aid money to go to college, the ones that say for a small fee and some personal information you could get the latest deal on a student loan? Start thinking of them like the prince from Nairobi who e-mailed you that "urgent message" last week. 

Attorney General Bob Cooper issued a warning Thursday about letters being circulated with official-looking seals — including some made to mimic state government documents — trying to obtain a fee or extensive personal information about prospective students. 

"These businesses send letters that appear as if they are affiliated with a university, when in fact they are not,” Cooper said. “Companies like these are trying to gain a student’s or parent’s trust simply to make money for a service the parent or student can obtain for free."

The deadline to apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be eligible for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award is Feb. 15. 

The attorney general's office is asking students and parents to consult with universities about financial assistance. 

Call the state's Division of Consumer Affairs (1-800-342-8385 or 741-4737) or click here with questions or to file a complaint against a company for deceptive tactics.