Tell FAFSA.com To Stop Bilking Needy Students Looking for Financial Aid Help
This petition made change with 89 supporters!
Last year, when Hawaii mom Darlene Lee was helping her son apply for college, she forgot three important letters: "com" vs. "gov."
Instead of filing her FAFSA - or Free Applicatino for Federal Student Aid - with www.fafsa.gov, she filed it with fafsa.com. It wasn't until the end of the form that she realized this site wasn't free at all - it would cost $80 to file her son's application. Because the deadline was fast approaching, she paid it, but regrets it.
"It's a free service, so why should they be making money off of people, especially young kids trying to get an education?" Lee told Honolulu's Star Advertiser.
Fafsa.com isn't run by the government. It's run by Student Financial Aid Services Inc., a company that charges parents and students for their expertise in filling out the FAFSA, taking advantage of parents like Lee who might not realize the site costs money until it's too late.
When you enter Fafsa.com, you're greeted with an urgent message - "Student Aid Alert - File IMMEDIATELY to avoid losing aid," which takes you to the site's costly FAFSA service. Although some families may want the help that the site provides, who knows how many more just don't realize they're on the wrong website until it's time to fork over the cash?
Student Financial Aid Services Inc. is a member of the National Association of Financial Aid Adminstrators. But their actions may violate the association's ethical code, which emphasizes that members, "committed to removing financial barriers for those who wish to pursue postsecondary learning," and "educate students and families through quality consumer information."
We want Fafsa.com to make it more clear to parents and students that they're paying for something, and for the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators to enforce their code of ethics on their members. After all, so many students are having trouble paying for college these days. Companies shouldn't be profiting off of their struggle to give themselves a future.
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