Don’t get hooked: Protect yourself from misleading financial aid offers

Don’t get hooked: Protect yourself from misleading financial aid offers

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) and the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA) have teamed up to launch a new initiative to protect families against misleading financial aid offers.

The campaign, "Don't Get Hooked" aims to educate families to help them avoid potential fraudulent offers that can come in the mail, over the internet or phone, or even in person.

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Several families in North Carolina have fallen victim to scams surrounding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid programs statewide.

Scammers promise college scholarship or grant money to families if they agree to certain stipulations, like sending a check or signing up to pay for a service.

“There are over 100 colleges in North Carolina, including 58 community colleges, and the financial aid administrators on each of those campuses are ready to assist you with completing your FAFSA, free of charge and regardless of whether you plan to attend that school," said Jamie Pendergrass, NCASFAA president. "They are the experts and are happy to help North Carolina families.”

Scammers time these misleading offers during the college application season, so families are fooled into thinking they’re hearing from scholarship providers or the federal government.

“College is a great investment, but it can also be an expensive one. Without careful planning, students may end up drowning in student debt or fall prey to scams," Attorney General Josh Stein said.

Stein suggests high school students research the types of financial aid that are available, which starts by completing the FAFSA. This is the federal form used to determine a student’s eligibility for state and federal financial aid and is completely free.

CFNC representatives regularly offer financial aid sessions in all areas of the state. NCASFAA is also ensuring all campus financial aid offices are ready and willing to help families with any financial aid question regardless of which school the student wants to attend.

You can find contact information for all financial aid offices using this map.

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