Company targets students seeking financial aid

DMC officials:
Help already
available for free

Raul Alonzo / Web editor

The Del Mar College Financial Aid office recently released a statement warning students of a company attempting to charge students for services that are already offered for free.

Under the name Student Financial Resource Center (SFRC), the Sacramento-based company sends students letters offering to help in completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The company also claims it can help students gain additional financial aid.

According to Nancy Briseno of the Del Mar College Financial Aid Department, the company had been making such appeals in recent years, but it was this semester that the Del Mar staff came together to attempt to put a stop to it, at least by informing students of the services that the department already offers for free.

“It’s also something students can also research on their own,” Briseno said. “Just go on the Web, there’s so much information out there. So we’d prefer students don’t go through this.”

In letters sent out by the SFRC, the company gives the recipient a date by which an application form and “refundable processing fee” of $65 must be submitted to qualify for “maximum merit and need-based financial aid assistance.”

One of the services SFRC states it can help students with is seeking out scholarships. According to Briseno, the Del Mar Financial Aid office provides and encourages students to seek free help through the office to pursue the same objectives. The angle of being able to help students acquire more financial aid is one that most likely draws students in, and one that the office also provides, Briseno said.

“That’s part of what Financial Services is — helping students find money,” Briseno said.

Those who visit the company’s site at studentctr.org are unable to proceed beyond the home screen without the Student Profile Number also included in the letter.

The notice sent out by the Financial Aid office said it would expect there to be more letters sent out to students as the new FAFSA application opens on Jan. 1, 2014. The memo also warned that some of the letters being sent out might look very official with college names and logos included.

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