Friday, February 5, 2010

Financial Aid Scam Alert

You shouldn't have to pay anything to get help filling out financial aid forms, including the FAFSA. In fact, Vol State in conjunction with colleges and universities across the nation, is sponsoring extended financial aid hours and special events to help people fill out the forms for free, no matter what school they plan to attend. Scroll down this page for a complete list of what Vol State is doing. Here is a copy of a news release sent by the Tennessee Attorney General this week warning about the scams:

Feb 4, 2010
Tennessee Attorney General issues caution against college "financial aid" pitch

The state deadline for college financial aid is quickly approaching, and state officials are asking parents and students to beware of official-looking letters promising student financial aid information for a fee. Attorney General Bob Cooper and Division of Consumer Affairs Director Mary Clement are urging Tennesseans to be wary of potential financial scams designed to steal personal information and/or cash. The alert is being issued because the state has learned that students and parents of university students have been receiving letters urging them to pay $50 or more to apply for financial aid. Tennesseans can get information free from the school’s financial aid office or online.


The letters often have government-like seals, personal information about where the student attends school, and warns of quickly approaching deadlines. Moreover, these are also being sent out while schools are working with students and families in establishing aid for the following academic year. The deadline to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to be eligible for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) is Feb. 15, 2010 and the deadline for Tennessee Hope Scholarships is September 1, 2010. For more information, visit the website at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

"These businesses send letters that appear as if they are affiliated with a university, when in fact they are not," Attorney General 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."

"We encourage students and parents to work closely with their universities’ financial aid offices and verify the source with the school before giving money or their personal information to anyone claiming to provide financial aid, funding or information about financial aid." Director Clement said. "Students should never have to pay money to get a scholarship or information about financial aid."


Consumers may call the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385 (toll-free inside Tennessee) or (615) 741-4737, or may visit www.state.tn.us/consumer if they have additional questions or want to file a complaint against a company for deceptive tactics.
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College financial aid paperwork help at Vol State

Financial aid is consistently listed as one of the most important factors students consider when applying for college. Volunteer State Community College will have free financial aid help in February and March, no matter what college or university a student wants to attend.

“College Goal Sunday” will be held on February 14. The Vol State Financial Aid Office will have a special session in the Caudill Hall auditorium from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. College financial aid offices across the nation will be open to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application is used to apply for federal student grants, work-study aid, loans, state, and some private aid. There are some important documents students will need, before starting the application, including 2009 tax forms and W-2 forms. High school students are advised to bring a parent, if possible, along with their tax documents. The FAFSA form also requires common information, such as social security and driver’s license numbers. Students are advised to go online and apply for a FAFSA online PIN number, before they visit the Financial Aid Office for help. The PIN number can be obtained on the website www.pin.ed.gov

Vol State will also have extended Financial Aid Office hours from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on February 25 and March 2. The office will be open on Saturday, March 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments for are not required, but are encouraged.

Vol State is located at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The Financial Aid Office is on the bottom floor of the Wood Campus Center. For more information about “College Goal Sunday” visit the website www.CollegeGoalSundayTN.org or call 615-230-3456.
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