There were 31.5 Million FREE FAFSA applications completed in 2011 according to the US Department of Education however, there may have been over 2 million students scammed by the misleading website FAFSA.com!
Because of the number of people completing the FAFSA there have been unscrupulous people trying to make money off of the back of it.
The biggest site that I have found potentially ripping off students is FAFSA.com.
FAFSA.com is potentially scamming 2.1 Million Student Per Year!
See how they are ripping off students and getting away with it below…
How Is FAFSA.com a Scam?
The way fafsa.com scams students is by charging them $79.99 to “assist” them in completing the FREE FAFSA form.
I have 2 issues with FAFSA.com:
- They mislead students into thinking that they are completing the official FAFSA form and then charge them for it. They do not clearly show that it will cost $79.99 until you have already filled in all your information
- The $79.99 charge is according to some complaints online not a one time fee but a recurring annual fee that automatically gets charged to students credit cards
They acknowledge in 2 locations that they are not affiliated with the department of Education and the FAFSA could be completed with no professional help.
My belief is that they are providing a service of value to some students, however, I suspect they get a lot of customers who think they are applying to the official FAFSA and are paying the $79.99 to the government and not to this for profit company.
Where is the legitimate FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The U.S. Dep. Of Ed. Is the largest issuer of financial aid and the FAFSA is the common starting point for all students to access that aid.
If you are looking to get student loans than the FAFSA is step #1.
The FAFSA application opens Jan 1 of each year for the next school year. Make sure to apply early as some grants are given out on what amounts to a first come first served.
Use FAFSA.org NOT FAFSA.com
Where Does FAFSA.com Attract Students to Scam?
FAFSA.com attracts student to their website through search engines like Google. They are currently ranked #3 for the search term FAFSA.
There are 1.8M students per months searching for the term FAFSA according to Google…
By ranking #3 for this one keyword they would get hundreds of thousands(typically 20% of 1.8 million) of visitors per month!
There are many negative reviews of FAFSA on the internet and I was unable to find any positive reviews other than ones on their own website!
On the Better Business Bureau site there is 186 complaints yet somehow they still have an A+ rating.
Here are a few of the complaints…
To present what I hope is as fair a representation as possible of FAFSA.com below is their very canned response to most of the complaints at BBB.
BBB Review – Source
Their website has supposedly 246k positive reviews however, on external websites I was unable to find any remotely positive reviews. I am not clear on how they have so many positive reviews but any service that claims a 98% satisfaction has my BS alert going off!
Photo By: leejayjee
How Many Students Are Getting Scammed? ~ 2,106,040 in 2011!
Traffic for FAFSA.com = 236 Thousand per month (estimated)
Traffic for FAFSA.gov = 3.5 Million visitors per month (estimated)
(FAFSA.com visitors) / (FAFSA.ed.gov visitors) x (Number of FAFSA.ed.gov applications)
(Potential Number of Ripped Off Students!)
236,230 / 3,533,012 * 31,497,543 = 2,106,040 Potentially Ripped Off Students in 2011!
Who is behind FASA.com? – Haliburton
I am kidding about Haliburton.
FAFSA.com is very transparent and to their credit very clearly identify they are a private for profit company with their profile on the BBB website…
FAFSA.com is a legal business that appears to operate within all laws however their ethical compass seems to be very poor, they knowingly mislead students and take their money to complete a service which could be completed for FREE!
7 Best FREE FAFSA Resources
To make sure you are armed with knowledge and will avoid being scammed you can get advise on how to complete the free FAFSA from these great resources…
- Top 3 FAFSA FAQ’s
- 5 Reasons You Should Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
How Can We Stop Students From Getting Scammed by FAFSA.com?
Make sure you do not pay for the FREE(F) FAFSA form and apply to the correct location…
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