Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

Our daughter will be a senior in high school this year with the possibility of graduating six months early. We have been looking into colleges but need financial assistance. Some of these deals look too good to be true. What is the best way to weed out the offers that may be potential scams?

If you are only looking online, it's best to contact the college and ask for a copy of their scholarship offers. We found one for our son but when we met with the counselor from the school, she said the one we had chosen was no longer available. When we mentioned it was on their site, she said that the information on it had not been updated and/or was overlooked. This put us in a serious jam and we had to rush out and try to find something similar at a different college. It's a smart move to go in and talk to the financial office before putting all your eggs in one basket. - W. K. in San Antonio, TX

FROM JODIE:

There are definitely all kinds of scams on the internet that sound exciting and seem quite professional. Things can quickly get out of hand if you do not follow through with each college your daughter is interested in if you simply base a choice on things you read on the internet. It's safe to say that everything offered needs to be verified with the actual company, or in your case, each individual college. Be aware of “free money” for college tuition, especially if it's not a school with a real address and phone number listed where you can actually call and perhaps visit and ask questions or get info mailed to you. Be sure to read all the fine print on each article, form and handbook and ask for any addendum. Also, check for any dates that any of these have and be sure they're current. In fact, ask if guidelines have been updated recently or if they are in the works to be changed in the next six months. With all the available books and online information about the many schools, you should never have to pay anyone or any company to find scholarships for your daughter. If a college has scholarships available, they will certainly let the public know because they very much want to give it to the right student. Of course, many have guidelines about the recipient that may require certain grades, background, etc. and can even stipulate specific extracurricular activities or volunteering for the student associated with one. For those that you and your daughter are most interested in, get every offer and every detail in writing; never base a decision on any verbal discussion or promise.

CAN YOU HELP?

We have four children and have to watch our money closely. Three of them are girls and like to dress fashionably but it gets quite expensive. My solution to is shop at the Goodwill or Salvation Army centers near us. My sister-in-law says we should not tell the children where we buy their clothing due to the potential ridicule that could happen if the other kids at school should find out. Should we explain to our kids about our budget and where we buy their clothes or let them continue to think they're new?


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