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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tips for being college bound

By Kirstin Davis BBB Marketplace Director

High school graduation is a rite of passage for many. It may be coming up for your family with a young adult, or it could be you making the leap to further your high school education.

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest wants to support lifelong learning and provide tips to make sure you earn a good grade at financing your education through financial aid or scholarships.

Fill out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid provides information for prospective students and families to learn what options are available financially. Many scholarships and grants require FAFSA forms to qualify regardless of income level. The FAFSA qualifies students for low-interest and forgivable federal student loans, which are the most attractive kind of student loans. Finally, a FAFSA may increase your chances of being accepted to a school or program. Submission of FAFSA forms generally indicates a student is more likely to attend, which is attractive to schools or programs and could enhance the chances of being accepted.

Know the financial options. There are several ways to fund higher education. Scholarships and grants do not require to be paid back but may come with conditions. Federal loans require repayment with interest. Work study is an opportunity to pay for education in exchange for work.

Be aware of scholarship scams. Paying for college or any post-high school education comes at a hefty price, and scammers know this. If a scholarship requires a fee to be submitted with the application, it is suspect no matter how small the amount. Reputable scholarships do not require a fee. If you receive notification of being awarded a scholarship you did not apply for, this is a red flag as many times it will be followed by a fee associated to receive the funds that most likely will not come to fruition. Finally, if there is an offer to “do all the paperwork” required for most scholarships, this is a good sign your personal information is being phished.

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is accepting applications for a $10,000 BBB Student of Integrity scholarship for high school junior and senior students. Complete information can be found at bbb.org/northwest. The deadline is Feb. 13.

Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of a scam should report it to local law enforcement and with BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/.

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