A reader: I received a solicitation in the mail from a company called College Admissions Assistance. The company is located at 200 S. Virginia St. in Reno, Nevada. It was an invitation for a workshop coming up in a couple of weeks to “help determine college admission and financial aid eligibility.” It’s supposed to be free. They also require a parent to be with the student. So, I thought that was good. I have a high school student that is beginning the search for a college and money to go to school. I don’t want take him to a workshop like this if it’s not real. How do I find out more about the company?
Action Line: College and financial aid searches can be scary and confusing. You are taking the right steps today. The very first thing you should do is check on the company with your BBB. I went to bbb.org and found that your BBB serving Fort Worth and Tarrant County has a report. The reason this BBB has the report is that the headquarters of the company is located in Arlington, Texas. According to BBB files, this company has a C+ rating This company provides educational services and provides college planning help to students and families. The company states it is not a scholarship search company, is not associated with any college loan company, and does not guarantee financial aid.
Here is some great information for you to have BEFORE you begin your search:
1. Take your time. Don’t be rushed into paying at the seminar. Avoid high-pressure sales pitches that require you to buy now or risk losing out on the opportunity.
2. Investigate the organization you’re considering paying for help. Talk to a guidance counselor or financial aid adviser before spending your money. You may be able to get the same help for free.
3. Be wary of “success stories” or testimonials of extraordinary success. Ask for a list of at least three local families who’ve used the services in the last year.
4. Be cautious about purchasing from seminar representatives who are reluctant to answer questions or who give evasive answers to your questions.
5. Ask how much money is charged for the service, the services that will be performed and the company’s refund policy. Get this information in writing. Scholarship and grant information is available free from school guidance counselors or school libraries.