Avoid costly financial aid traps - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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Avoid costly financial aid traps

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COLUMBUS, Ga. - Time is running out for high school seniors who are planning to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The deadline is June 30th but experts say the earlier you fill it out the better. The Federal Trade Commission is also warning people to be cautious of scholarship and student loan scams.

"They're anxious about finding different scholarship programs and things of that nature," said Leonard Crain at the Better Business Bureau.

It's the time of year where high school seniors are getting their acceptance letters to college. Anyone who needs hlep paying for schooling will need to fill out the FAFSA. There are some warnings with the application. Be aware that some places charge for help filling out the free form.

"Anybody that's trying to charge is not the legitimate site. It's .gov. Just make sure you're on the right website," said Jean Flowers at the College Resource Center.

The Better Business Bureau says scholarship scams are pretty common around the time families are trying to find ways to pay for college. The Federal Trade Commission says students should keep an eye out for these common red flags.

-"The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
-"We'll do all the work. You just pay a processing fee."
-"The scholarship will cost you some money."

Jean Flowers at the College Resource Center says the form is easy to fill out and even if you do not think you'll qualify for any aid, you should still fill out the form because your financial situation may change.

"You're basically going to miss out on qualifying for some potential grants and scholarships and also certain types of loans. If you don't have one on file, you will miss the boat for that year," said Flowers.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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