Some companies out there are charging students for the promise of scholarships or grants. Be wary of any site that promises “guaranteed” results or exclusive information that can’t be found anywhere else. Chances are, that information is available for free in several places on the internet and its very unlikely that scholarship or grant providers would want to keep that knowledge hidden from students.
Now, many free sites are supported by advertisements. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get out of control if these ads are misleading, pop-ups, or contain harmful code. On the other hand, it might be helpful to see what schools, loans, or book stores are offering good deals. If its something you’re interested in, there’s no obligation to click and find out a little more about it.
I mentioned earlier in my FAFSA article that some companies are also charging to file this application: Again, there is no reason to pay anyone! Even if you hire someone to hand in the actual application, you will still need to do all the research and work of preparing it. They don’t know your financial information and they don’t know your family’s investment information unless you tell them – and you could just go straight to the Department of Education’s website and type it in there the first time.
Financial aid is supposed to be about finding money for school – don’t spend money chasing that promise, because its all available for free (of course, there’s still effort involved!)