University of Missouri Extension

College Scholarship Scams

As the cost of a college education rises, and the cost of not having one soars in an increasingly competitive society, scholarship brokers have proliferated. The Federal Trade commission says the sometimes desperate quest for scholarship money has produced new victims for con artists. Dana Lesemann, a lawyer with the FTC, reports 8 recently filed lawsuits against companies engaged in fraudulent activities involving 19,000 victims. Many were from mail based schemes guaranteeing scholarships for a fee. One organization the FTC shut down assured students they would win grants from $2,500 to $7,500 for a fee from $10 to $100. This organization used 10 different names and lured in more than 50,000 people. Personalized seminars for students who meet counselors at airport hotels in exchange for several hundred dollars promise to do all the paperwork for you. It is estimated that there are 150 dishonest scholarship schemes a year, many similar to those used 20 years ago but now appearing on the World Wide Web.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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Cynthia Crawford
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