Sham degrees, fake scholarships, grants that will never exist and financial aid that evaporates after you have put down money to acquire them are the tools that con artists use to get a hold of your money.

  • Get your degree in 30 days
  • College credits for real world experience
  • Website doesn't have a .edu suffix
  • Negative reports at the Better Business Bureau
  • Location is outside the US or in certain states
  • Tuition paid on a per-degree basis
  • School's Address/Phone and Other Basic
  • Information is Missing
  • Names that are similar to well known reputable universities
  • Unprofessional website
  • Little or no interaction with professors
  • Offer "Free" Education Grants
  • We're the Real Thing
  • No studying required
  • Turn your experience into a degree
  • Advance Fee required
  • Get Government Grants Free
  • Get Up To $250,000 From The Gov't
  • Free Money From The Government
  • Small fee of $1.99
  • Huge list of Degrees or Majors Offered


Precautions You Should Take   TOP

  • Beware of old out dated grant web site and phone number information.

  • When companies get enough complaints they simply close the site and start up a new one.

  • Amateur looking web sites with broken references should be avoided.

  • Beware of someone who tells you that the grant process is too complicated and only they can truly understand it.

  • No legitimate web site ever requires you to purchase another product or pay in order to be obtain aid or a scholarship.

  • Never pay up-front, processing, handling, origination or advanced fees.

  • Outrageous claims and refuse to provide information without first receiving your financial information. 

  • Never reveal information about your bank account.

  • Uses terms such as a loved one's future at stake.

  • No one can guarantee they will get you government aid.

  • High pressure seminars prey on the fear of parents and students. 

  • Fake websites may have the word FAFSA on them and look official, even using terms like foundation, federal, national or association.

  • View any free offers with skepticism.

  • Stay away from company's requiring up-front money, complex financial aid process, deadline pressures

  • There are no secret sources of federal or state student aid.

  • Guarantee success for a fee is a fake

  • Charging to help process, fill out and submitting the FAFSA application is a waste.

  • It's against the law for a company to imply that you need to purchase a financial product (such as insurance or an annuity) to receive federal student aid.

  • Your most recent tax return must be on file in order to apply for federal aid in the first place. Given that federal money is doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, you want to hop on this task right away.

  • "Foundation," "Federal," National," or "Association" in a company's title or promotional material doesn't mean that it's on the level or endorsed by any lawful entity.

Financial Aid   TOP

  • Pre-approved for student financial aid is a scam. 

  • Stay away from a company offering to apply for federal student aid on your behalf, for a fee.

  • Carful, identity theft may be related to Financial Student Aid programs

  • Offer student loans but have to pay a fee of 3% or 4% of the loan amount.

  • Loan consolidation fees is to cover "processing," "administrative" or "consolidation" charges but legitimate & federal consolidation loans have no fees whatsoever.

  • There are only a few private lenders that offer loan consolidation

  • Offer of "Free" Education Grants

  • Websites that warn of education grant scams, only to assure you that they are "genuine" are scams

  • Watch out for organization that state they are part of "economic stimulus programs"

  • We can help you qualify for a payment from the government economic stimulus package for a small fee.

  • E-mail messages may ask for bank account information so that the operators can deposit consumers' share of the stimulus directly into their bank account.

  • E-mail may appear to be from government agencies and ask for information to "verify" that you qualify for a payment are clear scams.

  • For a small sum of money - as little as $1.99 in some cases - consumers can get a list of economic stimulus grants they can apply for. NO! NO!!

  • Schools may list accreditation by organizations that are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Addresses that are box numbers or suites may be a mail drop box or someone's attic.

Grants   TOP

  • Guarantees to get you grants just by making a phone call; not possible!

  • Even small fees for an education grant or grant-writing kit are scams.

  • Call stating that you're entitled to or have won a hefty grant

  • Disregard a government contact promising to give you a grant to fund a business, pay a loan, seed a project or for any other reason, unless you have applied to them, since government agencies that give grants do not make random calls.

  • Ignore grant offers that you see in classified ads.

  • Check the correct names of government agencies. Just because the caller says they're from the "Federal Grants Administration" doesn't mean that they are.

  • Company offers to apply for federal student aid on your behalf, for a fee.

  • Ignore phone calls telling you've won a college scholarship or have been awarded a grant unless you have applied for them. They always come by letter!

  • Calls or mail from the Department of Education - you have been selected to receive a grant or student loan.

Scholarships   TOP


  • Scholarship search services and financial aid advice services provide information that can be found elsewhere for free.

  • Misrepresent themselves as a government agency in order to appear legitimate

  • Asks for payment before it will help you find funding

  • Invitation for an interview or seminar you never contacted.

  • Anyone who tells you the information they offer cant be found anywhere else.

  • Pre-approved for a scholarship or specially selected for a scholarship-matching service, are a scam. 

  • Legitimate scholarships do not require applicants to pay up-front fees.

  • There is no secret vault with scholarship money.

  • There are no unclaimed Scholarship Dollars.

  • You don't have to be an "A" student, since scholarships also exist for community and extracurricular activities, skills and talents.

Degrees   TOP


  • School only asks for a signing up fee for admission.

  • Abundance of degrees to students in the USA yet operate out of a foreign country.

  • Check with the Better business bureau for any complaints against a school.

  • Diploma mills, for lifetime achievements are not recognized by legitimately accredited institutions, official professional licensing authorities or reputable employers.

  • If you purchased your degree probably no one will hire you. 

  • Promising a degree in days weeks or a few months is a scam.

  • Degrees are not granted based upon the knowledge you already have, but rather upon the successful completion of a process that includes training, interaction with professors and a process of learning.

  • Real schools have a domain that ends in .edu.  A few scam schools sneak in. 

  • Reputable overseas schools don't recruit via email in the U.S.

  • Many diploma mills are located within Wyoming, Mississippi, and Alabama.

  • Tuition based on the degree you choose or discounts for enrolling in multiple degree programs are scams. 

  • Names that are similar to well known reputable universities are fake names: "Oxford England University", "Hardvard University", "University of Britain".

  • In some states, it can be illegal to use a degree from an institution that is not accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.

  • School saying they have to be accredited only is needed if you want to obtain federal financial aid.  

  • Most diploma mills make dreadful looking websites. 

  • Huge list of Degrees or Majors Offered for a small, unknown school are signs of a scam.

References for Unaccredited/Accredited Schools, Grants and Loans & Tips   TOP

Start aid search (scholarships, grants, etc.) early, when your child is a sophomore or junior in high school.

FAFSA is a prerequisite for applying for federal Stafford and PLUS loans, state grants and college financial aid.

Fill out the FAFSA, even if you think you won't qualify for aid, rules change all time. Plus, if you have other children in college (or even private school), the FAFSA formula takes that into account.

Unaccredited schools http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/Education_Degree_Scams_Unaccreddited.php

More Sources of   Unaccredited schools http://www.web-miner.com/deunaccredited.htm

Council on Higher Education Accreditation's website CHEA http://www.chea.org/

Financial Student Aid (Loans and Grants) https://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/aboutus.jsp?backURL=/xap_pack/Default.asp&Language=en&returnurl=/students/english/aboutus.jsp

Private lenders that offer loan consolidation  http://www.finaid.org/loans/privateconsolidation.phtml

US Department of Education list of accredited schools http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/

Applying for federal aid requires a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) www.fafsa.ed.gov/index.htm

Aid application deadlines http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm

Financial Aid Advisor  http://www.finaid.org/questions/askadvisor.phtml


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