Financial Aid Director at U of M Flint offers advice on avoiding financial assistance scams

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FLINT, Michigan (WJRT) - (08/09/2018) It's that time year already, college tuition for the fall semester will be due in just days.

On Thursday, the Michigan Treasury's Student Aid Team warned students about the need to be careful when it comes to offers of financial assistance --especially when it comes to loans.

The state said scammers are taking advantage of those who are vulnerable, and they are seeing an increase in this type of activity.

However, students we spoke on the campus of U of M Flint are pretty savvy in this regards.

"I have an idea of what to look for when something says 'hey, we've got this great offer for you',' said U of Flint sophomore Zechariah Keith "or 'hey you need to give us this information'."

"The office of financial aid is here to help you," said U of M Flint sophomore Cameron Kay, "make sure you're not trying to find some loopholes to get yourself more money, it's not going to end well for you."

Sound advice according to Lori Vedder, the Director of Financial Aid at U of M Flint:

"Students want to work with their financial aid office at the institution of their choice," she said, "If information is not coming directly from them or the U.S. Department of Education , that's a big red flag."

Vedder said the best place to start is online, at where students can fill out a free application for federal student aid.

If, in addition to the federal loans, they still need to borrow, Vedder said they should look at loans through private companies.

"Those companies will in turn still work with the financial aid office from the school where the student is taking that loan," she said.

"If you're getting those calls or people are soliciting you in any way you do not share personal, identifiable information, social security numbers, bank account information," she added.

Students should also avoid applying for scholarships that require payment:

"Scholarships, loans, applying for financial aid, anything, never pay," Vedder said.

For more information on how to avoid getting scammed when seeking financial assistance in the form of student loans or scholarships, just click on the link to the right of this story.

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