Prevent Scholarship and Financial Aid Fraud

Every year, millions of high school graduates seek creative ways to finance the markedly rising costs of a college education. In the process, they sometimes fall prey to scholarship and financial aid scams.

On November 5, 2000, Congress passed the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act to enhance protection against fraud in student financial assistance by establishing stricter sentencing guidelines for criminal financial aid fraud. It also charged the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with implementing national awareness activities, including a scholarship fraud awareness website.

Avoid these telltale pitch lines used by fraud perpetrators: 

  • 'The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.'
  • 'You can't get this information anywhere else.'
  • 'I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.'
  • 'We'll do all the work.'
  • 'The scholarship will cost some money.'
  • 'You've been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship’ or ‘you're a finalist,’ in a contest you never entered.'

To file a complaint, or for free information, call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit