CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
(208) 334-2424 or
Toll-free at (800) 432-3545

Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 19, 2005

Wasden Says Use Caution When Searching for Scholarships

(Boise) - Idaho's college-bound students and their parents should use caution when searching for scholarships, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden wrote to all Idaho high school counselors asking for their assistance by warning students of fraudulent scholarship search companies. Wasden's letter also encourages the use of Career Information Systems, a free scholarship search system.

Commercial services charge anywhere from $15 to hundreds of dollars for a computerized search claiming to match a student's grades, career interests, hobbies and other data with available scholarships. None of these services can guarantee success. Other companies may offer sales pitches disguised as financial aid "seminars."

For information on commercial scholarship search companies, please contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit, in-state toll–free, (800) 432–3545 or (208) 334–2424.

"If you have to pay money to get money for college, it could be a scam," Attorney General Wasden said. "Before you spend any money, you should use the excellent free resource right here in Idaho, the Career Information System."

Wasden also warned students that they should not disclose personal information such as an address, telephone number, social security number, or e–mail address, without having researched a company's privacy policy and know the company has a good reputation. "Identity theft is a growing problem and Idahoans should use caution when searching for scholarships," Wasden said.

There is a safer, free alternative right here in Idaho, called the Career Information Systems (CIS). CIS is a free scholarship search service available to Idaho's college-bound students and their parents.

CIS provides a comprehensive list of available scholarships and other financial aid information. CIS can match students with scholarships based on grades, interests, financial need and other information. CIS also provides information about colleges and universities in Idaho and throughout the United States, describes hundreds of different career choices and much more. CIS is available in most Idaho high schools and colleges as well as in Job Service and Vocational Rehabilitation offices.

If you, or a student in your family, would like more information on CIS, you may access the CIS website at www.idahocis.org. Students will need to ask their school counselor for the user name and password to access the scholarship information from the CIS website. You may also contact CIS by telephone at (208) 334–3705.

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