2011-02-09 / Features

Crowley Seeks Probe of Possible Shady Student Loan Practices

Citing a new report by the Better Business Bureau alleging that certain companies are misleading families of students seeking assistance in securing financial aid, Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for an investigation.

“Financial aid is supposed to be a boon for American families, not a boondoggle,” Crowley declared in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Liebowitz.

“The idea that companies are trying to make a buck off of American families who are doing nothing more but trying to manage the high price tag of a college education is appalling,” Crowley said.

“These are tough economic times, and misleading families into believing they should pay for information that is already available at no cost is the ultimate cheat,” the lawmaker fumed.

Crowley added, “With student financial aid deadlines on the horizon, I urge the FTC to take urgent action and investigate the matter thoroughly.”

Crowley said in his letter to Liebowitz that on February 1, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a report that multiple companies may be hurting families of students applying to colleges and universities through misleading practices.

According to Crowley, the BBB said it has received complaints from parents who paid money upfront to a company that promised to find scholarships and grants for their child, but ultimately didn’t deliver.

Companies have also been reported as leading families to believe that they are providing a unique service, the Elmhurst lawmaker said, “when in reality they are charging money for simple information that is actually available for free elsewhere”.

Crowley stated, “This new report is deeply disturbing. At a time when our nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, students must be able to fairly and transparently access the funds they need to give them a chance at success.”

He urged Liebowitz to closely examine the claims contained in the BBB report and take urgent steps to protect any families from any misleading practices in the student financial aid industry, including options available under the terms of the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act.

“I plan on introducing further legislation to help ensure that families receive the information they need about what may amount to abusive practices,” Crowley stated.—John Toscano

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