Tulsa's Better Business Bureau offers advice on college financial aid

Tuesday, January 25th 2005, 2:21 pm
By: News On 6

Eventually, thousands of high school students across eastern Oklahoma will head to college.

Tulsa's Better Business Bureau is advising parents and students to be cautious about an upcoming seminar this weekend in Tulsa. Edifi College Financial Services is a company based in Albany, New York that has apparently been mailing invitations to students to come to the seminar.

According to the BBB, the invite says the student has been selected for a personal interview to get help with their tuition. But as News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, the Bureau says there have been complaints.

College is an expensive proposition and many parents and their kids are eager to get financial assistance. Rick Brinkley with Tulsa's Better Business Bureau says they got a call from a parent asking about a company called Edifi, based in Albany, New York. "And we looked at the Better Business Bureau that serves that area and talked to them and what we find is that some consumers really believe there's some misleading advertising going on."

Brinkley says the company mails letters to students inviting them to a seminar to help them get financial aid. But according to complaints, at the end of the seminar, some were disappointed to find the main service they offer is simply helping students fill out forms, for about $900. "Now there's nothing illegal about paying someone to help you fill out financial aid papers, but the reality is that a lot of this you can do yourself."

Brinkley says school guidance counselors have a lot of information about applying for scholarships and financial aid. And there are resources on the Internet. All for free.

Brinkley also points out that scholarships and financial aid are based on a student's grades and a family's income. And a seminar, even a $900 one, won't change that.

Brinkley says they don't know how many invitations were mailed to the Tulsa area or how many different cities that Edifi goes to. He says the seminar this weekend in Tulsa is apparently being held at the Embassy Suites hotel.

The US Department of Education meanwhile has a website with free help on getting student aid.