College financial aid from sources of scholarships and grants are the primary focus of the majority of college students who are either entering school for the first time or who may be returning in the fall of 2011, but there are some aspects of searching for college financial assistance that have been beneficial when it comes to helping students find aid and, in some cases, these students have turned to financial aid consultants as a way to increase their chances of finding funding to meet college costs.
Obviously, when it comes to seeking out resources to help students pay for college, there are countless opportunities available for a wide variety of individuals in different positions and places. However, during the financial aid search season there are some students who must be cautious about what forms of financial aid they seek and if they are looking for help from a financial aid consultant, there are also some advisors who suggest using caution before beginning a relationship with these types of organizations.
Students who are looking for either scholarships or grants will usually have general options in their area or national assistance opportunities through FAFSA and federal Pell Grants. While these options are incredibly helpful and can meet the all the costs a student may face while pursuing their degree, there are also some scholarships that may be available for specific students, like those who may be pursuing a degree in teaching, nursing, or math and science, but students need to be careful when looking at these alternative sources of financial assistance. It’s true that there are numerous grants and scholarships from reputable sources that can help students find the assistance they need, but when applications for these sources of financial assistance require a fee or charges, students may want to check the reputability of this particular financial aid source.
Along the same line, some students have consulted with financial aid counselors outside of their university, who may be in a better position to help them find assistance. Financial aid consultants are usually able to go beyond general assistance that a financial aid counselor at a particular college may offer, but there are some factors regarding financial aid consultants that need to be considered. As an example, a report on Foxbusiness.com states that, “Evaluating the efficacy of a private consultant is challenging. Since there’s no required professional credentials to break into the field, the profession is riddled with scammers.” The article goes on to mention that students must also be careful if a consultant guarantees a set amount of financial aid, as the majority of sources of financial assistance through scholarships and grants require an application, and possibly an interview, so there are no guarantees when it comes to a particular student receiving financing, even if one of the sources of financial aid is in a specific field related to their college major or future career goals.
While financial aid consultants can be researched online, as a simple Google search can yield feedback from past students who have used a particular agency or consultant, avoiding financial aid assistance from a consultant that requires that a contract to be signed or other products and services be purchased is also necessary to avoid the majority of scams, as a traditional financial aid consultant should simply work one-on-one with a student to help them find the most financial assistance available to meet their needs while attending a particular university.