The Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education have issued their annual report to Congress pursuant to the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act, describing their continued efforts to combat scholarship and financial aid fraud. Each year, millions of students seek help in financing their college education, and some fall prey to scholarship and financial aid scams that “guarantee” money for college in exchange for a fee.
This report provides an update of the agencies’ activities to prevent and prosecute financial aid fraud, including the FTC’s law enforcement efforts and the agency’s consumer education campaign to help students, parents, educators, and financial aid administrators identify and avoid financial aid scams. An analysis of consumer complaints about financial aid fraud shows that:
- complaints have remained fairly constant during the past decade
- compared to all of the other types of complaints registered with the FTC, the percentage of financial aid fraud complaints has decreased over time
- the nature of financial aid fraud has shifted from scholarship search services to financial aid consulting services.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report was 5-0.
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.
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