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CFNC: Never pay for financial aid help!

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- North Carolina students and families should never pay anyone for help finding or applying for financial aid for college.

Your free source for financial aid information, including how to apply and receive financial aid, is College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC). Not only is the help free, it's easy. Just contact CFNC on the web at CFNC.org or via the toll-free number 866.866.CFNC (2362).

Don't fall victim to misleading financial aid offers that come in the mail, over the internet, by phone -- even in newspapers and magazines.

Be alert for misleading "hooks" such as:

"You qualified for a grant to help you pay for college. We need your bank account number to transfer the funds to you." The truth: No one needs your bank information to give you a scholarship or grant; if you share your bank information, they will TAKE, not deposit, money.

"You have been selected for an award" or "you're a finalist." The truth: If you never applied for it, you can't get it.

"You can't get this information anywhere else." The truth: Everyone has access to the same free information.

"We do all the work." The truth: You must apply for financial aid yourself and the forms to apply are not complicated.

"Come to this free seminar and we'll show you how to get more financial aid." The truth: It may be a sales pitch. Maybe the seminar is free, but there may be a charge for future assistance – and you'll still have to complete all forms yourself anyway.

To be safe, never give out your Social Security number or other personal information over the telephone or in a group session. Even the U.S. Department of Education when discussing federal financial aid programs will not ask for your Social Security or bank identification number by phone.

In addition to the free help available to you through CFNC, your school counselor or college financial aid office can also help you at no charge to find scholarships or even fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial aid specialists will also be available to help high school seniors and families with their questions at a free, statewide FAFSA Day in February. Registration for this event opens soon at CFNC.org.

About CFNC

College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina that helps students plan, apply, and pay for college. CFNC is a partnership of Pathways, the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, and College Foundation, Inc.

  • Pathways, created by the N.C. General Assembly in 1999, is a state-wide initiative to increase the college-going rate of North Carolinians by providing: comprehensive college and career planning resources; electronic applications and transcripts accepted by all 110 North Carolina colleges and universities; and, information on student financial aid and college affordability. Pathways is administered by The University of North Carolina General Administration in collaboration with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, and the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities.
  • The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), established in 1965, is the State agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.
  • College Foundation, Inc. (CFI), administers a large portfolio of education loans, several major grant and scholarship programs for students attending N.C. colleges and universities, and the tax-free "529" college savings program on behalf of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority. CFI also delivers information to North Carolina students and families about paying for college and provides technology services for CFNC.org.

CFNC offers resources toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC and at CFNC.org.

SOURCE College Foundation of North Carolina