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Monday, April 29, 2013

Financial Advice from FinAid.Org

Financial Advice from FinAid.Org

This is a professional review of the financial-aid advice from FinAid.Org as well as a review of the finaid.org scholarship search service. Students, moms, mothers, and working adults need a consumer review of the FinAid.Org scholarship search service since its claims that " since 1999, we have helped millions of students, parents and counselors search 2.7 million local, state & national college scholarships & grants worth over 19 billion dollars...". FinAid.Org claims to have a database of at least 1.5 million scholarships as of the time this article was first published.

In order to carefully review FinAid.Org, we must review FinAid.Org with the same set of criteria we use for other scholarship search databases. We review the scholarship history of FinAid.Org, the scholarship database creativity of finaid.org, their scholarship published claims of finaid.org vs. documented facts by government or independent agencies concerning finaid.org. We review other factors about Schlolarships.Com also. We review factors as their Scholarship Yield, Scholarship Quotient, FaceBook habits, their receptivity to competitive scholarship listing sources, the quality of their scholarship listings, their scholarship advertising claims, their duplicate scholarship listings, their excluded scholarship listings, their association with other scholarship listing services, and the success rate of their scholarship recipients, as well as what third-party agencies or organizations that FinAid.Org is associated with.

Purpose of the FinAid.Org Financial Advice review.

The purpose of the Financial Advice review of FinAid.Org is to assist scholarship seekers and educators evaluate the merits and services of FinAid.Org. This financial advice and scholarship search service review also touches upon the FastWeb scholarship search service since both FastWeb and FinAid.Org tend to be alter-egos of each other. This report additionally concerns the quality, credibility, integrity, and legitimacy of the FinAid.Org scholarship search service amongst its peers in the scholarship search service industry. We conduct a detailed review of all major scholarship search service companies, and post our reviews without charge on our websites and scholarship blogs.

Login Requirements for FinAid.Org: Catch and Bait Method

Scholarship applicants using FinAid.Org are required to enter or create a personal profile to logon before using the FinAid.Org search service. Once your email has been served up, and you have created your scholarship profile, then you can expect to receive numerous, and constant emails from finaid.org. If you do not want to receive mass bulk emails from FinAid.Org then simply be sure to not check any boxes that require a subscription or sharing of your email address.

Superfluous finaid.org Scholarship Search Features

Finaid.org has numerous features for scholarship seekers. Not all the features, however, are really necessary. Many of the features of FinAid.Org are essentially the same features found on many other scholarship search services' websites, such as its primary competitor, Scholarships.Com. For example, finaid.org provides a scholarship box with certain features, such as the GPA. The GPA feature is non-functional. When a prospective scholarship seeker applies actual input to the search box, the search feature produces a very vague response like "Award: $10000 Deadline: Varies. The [xxx] Scholars Program is open to underrepresented and first - generation college - bound students." There is no hint or evidence if the scholarship is specific to your region, location, major, or what all the details are about. Instead, FinAid.org requires user to "login" for more information instead of simply presenting all of the information at first. This is the Catch-And-Bait method that many scholarship search companies use. The "catch" is your personal login details and the "bait" is the vague scholarship. Unlike Scholarships.Com, we did not observe any so-called Success stories claimed by FinAid.Org. Typically, claims of "success stories" by scholarship search companies are irrelevant and meaningless because each scholarship applicant is different, and many scholarship applicants using FinAid.Org may not apply for the same scholarships.

Consumer Tests for finaid.org

FinAid.Org was tested in June 2012, March of 2013, and again in April 2013. Scholarship students were recruited to contact FinAid.Org via their social media channels. FinAid.Org DID NOT censor comments, or block our posts on social media channels. This demonstrates that FinAid.Org is practicing good scholarship ethics. Scholarships.Com, and College Prowler, by comparison, immediately policed the comments and censored them before potential scholarship applicants could be informed of the $25,000 Scholarships that we were sponsoring. Any scholarship search service that blocks, censors, or obstructs the objective of students seeking financial-aid is probably a scholarship search service that you do not want to rely upon.

FinAid.Org Like many Scholarship Search Services

Students need to know that not all scholarship search services are the same, but many rely upon the same scholarship database. Scholarship Search services, including Scholarships.Con, do differ from one another in several respects. Some scholarship search services are open to the public, and some scholarship search services are closed. Finaid.org has an open record for its social media channels like FaceBook, etc. For example, FastWeb was tested during this time period, and we were not blocked, censored, or obtructed. FinAid.Org, on the other hand, appears to have varying criteria for its database of scholarships, grants, or financial-aid, as well as who is entitled to visit and participate on its social media channels. The "criteria" that is used appears to be arbitrary, capricious, selective, and certainly not uniform. Beware of Scholarship Search companies that create their own so-called "criteria" to justify having a censored scholarship database, or censored social media channel.

Scholarship Yield of finaid.org

We will use the term Scholarship Yield. Scholarship Yield is a term invented by National Academy of American Scholars. A Scholarship Yield is a mathematical calculation using Calculus that helps to determine and measure the robustness of a scholarship database. In simple terms, Scholarship Yield helps to determine if a scholarship database is all fluff and no meat, and whether its data is fresh relative to the population-age it is serving. For the mathematical equation of the Scholarship Yield, please contact an NAAS Specialist.

We illustrated the concept of Scholarship Yield as it applies to another scholarship search company, scholarships.com in a prevous review. The Scholarship Yield of FinAid.Org is a function of its claimed 1.5 million scholarships vs. the population of eligible scholarship candidates, demographic data, an equalization factor.

If we use the figures provided by FinAid.Org, and their reported claims, then over the span of 10 years, the Scholarship Yield of FinAid.Org has not been impressive.

History, Founding, and Business model of FinAid.Org Search Service.

FinAid Page, Inc. and Fastweb were created at virtually the same time. FastWEB.com, L.L.C.,is a company organized in Delaware and has a Federal Employer Identification Number of 51-0377304. It was organized and formed in or about September 13, 1996. However, when Fastweb was formed, it had a principal place of business in the state of Ilinois, Lake County. Mr. Robert Michelson was listed as the original Registered Agent, and he claimed to share the same office as FastWEB.com, L.L.C. A Mr. Leon Heller was listed as the President of Trustar Investments, Inc., general partner of Trustar Investments, L.P., manager of Trustar, L.L.C., manager of fastWEB.com, L.L.C., according to documents filed with Ilinois in 1996

Likewise, FinAid Page, Inc., was formed on July 2, 1996, barely 60 days prior to the formation of FastWEB.com, L.L.C. It is a huge coincidence that two different companies formed in two different states at nearly the same time eventually become so entertwined together.

In fact, the College Prowler scholarship search service, which is another suspicious scholarship search company, also has CMU graduates as its founders. Apparently, CMU has become a university of producing financial-aid search companies instead of business of technology. FinAid.Org has a business model similar to many scholarship search listing companies. The basic business model is that it acts as a lead generator for institutions associated with NASFAA (National Associaton of Student Financial-Aid Administrators).

Students are requested to complete detailed forms, and the information supplied by students appears to sold or bartered to participating institutions. The scholarship database offered by FinAid.Org IS NOT an open source database. Students or applicants must be willing to exchange their personal information, login into a secure area, and each student may be bombarded by telemarketers, and inappropriate colleges or universities after registration.

FinAid.Org Association with Controversial Organizations.

Aside from using a business model essentially identical to other scholarship search agencies, FinAid.Org is also associated with the National Scholarship Providers Association (N.S.P.A.), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and Carnegie Mellon University. Mark Kantrowitz is a former student of CMU, and CMU has paid membership fees as a member of NASFAA. In fact, Kantrowitz created the first website for NASFAA; he helped draft the idea for N.S.P.A., and he is one of the original board members of this controversial entity.

To fuel its growth, and credibility, FinAid.org has relied upon a number of factors. FinAid.Org has had a controversial, and still unexplained relationship with NASFAA. What we mean by unexplained is that there is no credible evidence as to why NASFAA would select an inexperienced person who was simply a student from CMU and who had not accomplished a single financial-aid task of national proportions, as a source for sponsorship. After agreeing to sponsor the FinAid.Org page, NASFAA back-tracked agreed that it would not honor a previous agreed upon two-year sponsorship. As a mere student, Mark Kantrowitz was allowed to use CMU university servers, university equipment to run and operate his student-formed FinAid.org page. Kantrowitz was afforded special and discriminatory privileges that were unavailable to others. Kantrowitz was allowed complete, total, and unfettered free reign of CMU resources and computing equipment. Mark Kantrowitz was allowed to create, host, and use his newly created FinAid.org website on state-funded CMU servers, and use a CMU phone numbers as his business office phone. Nonetheless, FinAid.Org modeled itself largely after Finaid.org.

Furthermore, the published association of FinAid.Org with the N.S.P.A., is also a red-flag for concern. The National Scholarship Provider's Association is a third-party middle-man organization that seeks to increase the leverage for exclusing scholarship listings; i.e., censoring popular scholarship programs. Since its inception and creation, some persons believe that N.S.P.A. has been stacked with persons and institutions connected with NASFAA and/or Kantrowitz. FinAid.Org apparently was unaware of the fact that the consensus running theory is that the central purpose of the N.S.P.A. is to CENSOR legitimate scholarship information and financial-aid programs and instead to steer students towards entities that are paid advertisers and/or members of NASFAA.

Growth of FinAid.Org Search Service

The growth of FinAid.Org is parallel to the growth of numeroua other scholarship search services, and similar scholarship search services. This should be no surprise since both the Fastweb and FinAid.org entities are associated with NASFAA. The growth of FinAid.Org has been fueled by members of NASFAA, and its association with N.S.P.A. who in turn recommend FinAid.Org to its students, and administrators.

Summary of the FinAid.Org Review

In summary, the FinAid.Org/Fastweb scholarship search site is a decent scholarship search service. It has been recommended by many main-stream media sources. However, the main-stream media is the least trustful of sources because often times the main-stream media has vested interest in what scholarship search service they are promoting. Also, whan the main-stream media promotes services like FinAid.Org or Fastweb, the main-stream media reporters are not required to disclose or dislaim whether or not the reporter is being paid a "review fee" or whether or not a relative of the reporter is or has received a scholarship or other material benefit from FinAid.org.

FinAid.Org is also a reputed member of the Better Business Bureau, and has in the past publishesed such claims. This is also a red flag. Membership into the BBB is often a red flag for corruption, and use of the BBB name to invite or generate customers is often a technique used to disguise poor service. Companies that are members of the Better Business Bureau tend to be really arrogant and lacking in customer service because the company understands that its BBB membership fee is free pass for poor service and while maintaining a good BBB Reliability Report.

Over the course of 25 years, my experience with BBB member companies is almost like dealing with criminals in a candy store. The BBB logo and BBB membership status is the candy craved by criminals. No great company needs the BBB.

FinAid.Org collects student information and shares this data with its partners. The practice of sharing data with advertisers or sponsors is not unusual or atypical by scholarship search companies.

When students log into their respective FinAid.Org profile area, students are immediately bombarded with an array of choices and possibilities. Some of these scholarship choices are irrelevant and may be considered irrelevant.

The Scholarship Yield of FinAid.Org is not impressive. Many of the concepts and practices of FinAid.Org are duplicated by other scholarship search databases. Many of the scholarship listings of FinAid.Org can be found in other scholarship databases.

Do you need FinAid.Org Scholarship Search Service?

Do you need FinAid.Org? No. Not really. There are many scholarship search services out there. The main reason for using any scholarship search service is the understanding that you are using a legitimate, complete, and non-censored scholarship database. If your scholarship search service is filtering scholarship entries then you will miss out on valuable scholarships. FinAid.Org has a history of even blocking comments on its Facebook channel.

Recommendations to FinAid.Org Scholarship Search Service

FinAid.Org Scholarship Search Service should require that its datasbase of Featured Scholarship listing companies like Scholarship Points, and College Prowler cease their practice of censoring, deleting, and/or blocking important information that can be shared with students, educators, and others. By being silent and taking no action, FinAid.Org is agreeing to the tactics of College Prowler, and Scholarship points. Censoring information is an admission of inferiority and poor service.

FinAid Scholarship Search Service should cease the practice of requiring students to logon before receiving the full details of their scholarship. That's our opinion, and scholarship review of the FinAid.Org scholarship search service. Please log into our Scholarship Blog and leave your reply comments.


A comprehensive table of Financial-aid Scholarship Points:
Scholarship Points



Related links about Financial Advice from FinAid.Org

Is Scholarship Points a Scam?
Is Scholarship Points a Scam

Degradation of National Scholarships
Degradation of National Scholarships

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