CBS News Reporter Debunks Myth of FastWeb Scholarship Search Services, and other prime Scholarship Search Services
On October 8th, 2013, a CBS News Money Watch reporter wrote an article entitled Do college scholarship search engines work?. The article was rather interesting, informative, and somewhat hypocritical. The author emphasized that the most popular way for moms, students, college grads, and women to search for private college scholarships is to turn to scholarship search engines.
The article claims that Fastweb fared the worst in a survey that included at least four other major scholarship search services, including Scholarships.com, the College Board, Cappex and Zinch. According to the article, the FastWeb Service service generated zero promising matches for users, and repeatedly threw ads towards users in virtually every step from registration to login before a single scholarship appeared!
Ironically, on September 25th, 2013, an article called Is The Scholly Scholarship App a Scam? A Professional Review, Analysis, and Opinion of The Scholly Scholarship App was written for the Scholarship Blog by reporter Ron Thomas. The article discussed the flaws and limitations of The Scholly Scholarship App while also noting the fact that the same scholarship app was being praised by virtually every single member and representative of the main-stream media. For example, U.S.A. Today Reporter Julia Craven never challenged a single questionable claim by the creators of the Scholly Scholarship App. She failed to offer the readers of U.S.A. Today any information that could have helped students, moms, and women decide if the Scholly Scholarship App was worth the .99 cents download fee, and other assorted fees.
Another Airhead reporter, Dana Dean, with KSDK News Channel 5 in St. Louis, MO, scripted a video review of the Scholly Scholarship App that was so inferior as to question her legitimacy as a reporter,a videographer, technician, and question what extra-activities she may have done to get her job. My perspective of the so-called 'video review' by Dana Dean was that it was nothing more than a crude infomercial specifically crafted to induce parents, moms, women, and students to waste .99 cents for a service that can be obtained for absolutely free by visiting virtually any page of the National Academy of American Scholars website. As an example of her inferior reporting skills, Dana Dean never mentioned a single alternative to The Scholly Scholarship App.
20-Year Learning Curve of Lynn O'Shaughnessy on Scholarships Search Services
The author of the article Do college scholarship search engines work? appears to be Lynn O'Shaughnessy. After 20 years, she is finally learning something that has already been reported by NAAS-NEWS, and others. It took the N.Y. Attorney General 10 years to piece together the complex involvment of colleges,universities, and loan company members of the National Association of Student Financial-Aid Administrators(NASFAA, who boasted in 1996 that it was the exclusive sponsor of FinAid.org) and why Mark Kantrowitz was such an ardent supporter of the College Fraud Scholarship Prevention Act; an Act that served no purpose other than to inflate tuition for thousands of students attending NASFAA-member schools, and which conveniently shifted attention away from the student-loan advertisers who were prominently being fed student data from many of the websites of these scholarship search service companies, including the Fastweb website!
Hello Lynn O'Shaughnessy. This is your hero, media pet, and so-called Financial-Aid Expert. The same so-called 'Financial-Aid Expert' who criticized lottery-style scholarships in the 1990s, accepted advertisements from student loan companies that were later indicted or complained of by the N.Y. Attorney General, and who would in 2013 accept a lucrative executive position with the precise type of company that he blamed for alleged scholarship fraud excesses. The same so-called 'Financial-Aid Expert' who scripted, wrote, and designed the Fastweb database that you now (in October 2013) hypocritically conclude fared so poorly. Did Kantrowitz kick you out of bed?
Use of Teenagers as Researchers to test Scholarship Search Services
To find out, Money magazine recruited teenagers to try out the nation's leading scholarship search sites. The results? Mediocre at best. Fastweb fared the worst. According to the magazine, the service generated zero "promising" matches for users, while also pelting users with ads.
According to the CBS Money Magazine report, none of the scholarship searches performed as advertised. The best perfoming of the four scholarship search services had only a 20% success rate at matching students with scholarships that they were eligible for. Advertisers who paid money for student data had a 100% success rate. At an estimated $15 to $18 per referral, and use of student records, Kantrowitz/Fastweb has been racking up a fortune and is being helped by corrupt members of the main-stream media who quote his every statement.
Credibility of Mark Kantrowitz as a Financial-Aid Expert, the role of NASFAA in Scholarship Searches, and how the main-stream media deceived the Public
This Publisher has not located a single record whatsoever that Mark Kantrowitz has ever taken a single state-sanctioned course or exam certifying his alleged financial-aid expertise, and neither is this Publisher aware of a single federal or state or Supreme Court judicial record of a Judge certifying Mark Kantrowitz as a 'Financial-Aid Expert'. Morevover, his own resume posted online in 1994 lacks any employment record of him serving as a financial-aid administrator, financial-aid consultant, scholarship administrator, or even scholarship sponsor. Indeed, the only visible record of Mark Kantrowitz with the subject of financial-aid, is his promotion of the Fastweb/FinAid.org websites, and authorship of books that promote such websites. There is a vast legal gap between Promoter and Expert that airhead reporters apparently don't understand.
The study by CBS News on the ineffectiveness of Fastweb is no surprise, but does invite a further review of the controversial role of NASFAA, the main-stream media, and the legitimacy of Mark Kantrowitz as a Financial-aid Expert. Eric Snowden may have exposed Verizon as a complicit partner in government spying of Americans, but he had information also on the role of the main-stream U.S. media deceiving Americans. [*See table below]
Why is Mark Kantrowitz referring to himself as a Financial-Aid Expert in books, and the media when his primary financial-aid product is flawed, and he has no legal certification as an expert? Have you ever wondered why so many main-stream media representatives have praised and endorsed Mark Kantrowitz as an expert in Financial-Aid or the FastWeb scholarship search service as the most promising scholarship search service? The recent study by CNS News deflates the myth of FastWeb and casts doubts on the reputation of those persons whom have praised Mark Kantrowitz/FastWeb.
Consider these outrageous, flawed, deceptive, and potentially fraudulent endorsements by the main-stream media of Mark Kantrowitz and/or his seemingly alter-ego entity FastWeb scholarship search service.
|*Misleading and/or Deceptive Endorsements by
Mainstream Media Representatives of Fastweb/Kantrowitz
|"Mark has an encyclopedic knowledge of college financing that I have valued for years. In this book he delivers clear advice on exactly what you need to do (and not do!) to increase your odds of landing a scholarship; from how to find scholarships that can be a good match, to how to nail the interview with the scholarship committee. Mark's ready to help you lower your college costs. What are you waiting for?" --wrote Suze Orman, wrote as a foreword to the Secrets to Winning a Scholarship book by Mark Kantrowitz in or about 2011.|
|"Secrets to Winning a Scholarship provides practical, clear and concise advice about how to find and win scholarships and fellowships. Brought to you by Fastweb, the leading free scholarship matching service."----wrote Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, in or about 2011|
|Mark Kantrowitz, the foremost expert on student financial aid and Publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org, has just released Secrets to Winning a Scholarship, a book that is certain to be a worthwhile investment. --Farnoosh Torabi, Credit.com|
|Secrets to Winning a Scholarship pulls together valuable strategies developed by Mr. Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized expert in financial aid. --Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
|Winning private college scholarships can certainly help make college more affordable. A handy resource to turn to is a book, Secrets to Winning a Scholarship, by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb. --Lynn O'Shaughnessy, US News & World Report|
Birth and Creation of FastWeb: Use of Tax-Exempt Sponsorship for Private Gain
According to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Corporations, FinAid Page Inc., only became a legal entity as of July 2,1996, and yet a President of a Better Business Bureau chapter was quoting him PRIOR to his business even being official and incorporated! Not only that, so-called 'Financial-Aid Expert' Mark Kantrowitz was publishing his non-sense financial-aid theories on perfectly valid and legitimate scholarship procedures that had preceded his own birth as well as the existence of his FinAid Page.
On July 9, 1996, barely a week into the official incorporation of FinAid Page, Mark Kantrowitz "announced an agreement under which the National Association of Student Financial-Aid Administrators (a/k/a/ NASFAA, a 501 (3)(c) non-profit organization) will be the exclusive sponsor of his for-profit FinAid Page, Inc, for at least the next two years." Over 90% of all U.S. colleges, and universities, are members of NASFAA, as well as the biggest student loan lenders. At the time, NASFAA had a contract with the U.S. Dept. of Education, as part of its relationship with thousands of colleges and universities.
With the sponsorship of NASFAA,colleges, universities, and the main-stream media flocked to Mark Kantrowitz and FastWeb/FinAid like flies are attracted to human fecal matter. Like attractive blondes flock to the highest earners. No matter how outrageous and communist-sounding his theories were (e.g., "you should never pay money to get money"), airhead reporters of the main-stream media of the U.S. quoted this guy as if they were on a singular mission to deceive the U.S. public or as if he was the only qualified source on the subject of financial-aid.
The public record suggests that NASFAA (in violation of direct and/or explicit I.R.S. rules) used its federal tax exempt status to benefit a private for-profit business, and the end result greatly expanded the reach, revenue, and influence of FastWeb, FinAid Page, and provided credibility to the argument of Mark Kantrowitz as a 'Financial-Aid Expert.' Did Mark Kantrowitz pay federal tax on this benefit, and did NASFAA record this item as an expense?
In other words, and to put it in very simple terms: NASFAA used or allowed its federal I.R.S. tax-exempt status to sponsor and beneift a for-profit entity. All the while, the FTC looked the other way. This explains why the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000 (which was sponsored by NASFAA, the FTC, and Kantrowitz) was so lop-sided against scholarship organizations targeted by Kantrowitz while legislation that addressed student-loan fraud was 100% absent. Hello main-stream media? Do you hear me now?
If that is not government fraud, then WTF is! Neither CNN, Bloomberg News, the N.Y. Times, Yahoo!, The Chronicles of Higher Education, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and all the other main-stream media publications never inquiried as to why NASFAA would sponsor a for-profit corporation that barely existed just weeks ago.
On e theory is that NASFAA was recruited or induced by the U.S. Dept. of Education to label and promote Mark Kantrowitz as a 'Financial-Aid Expert' to create profits for the student-loan industry that were later taxed by the U.S. Government.
Despite these massive holes in his credibility, the acknowledgement by the FTC in a September 5, 1996, news conference that Mark Kantrowitz was a government informant, U.S. main-stream media continued to feed to American college students, high-school students, guidance counselors at high-schools, the flawed and deceptive notion of Mark Kantrowitz being a 'Financial-Aid Expert' and that FastWeb was the best scholarship search service in the entire U.S.A., if not the world.
Filing of Lawsuits Against Reporters and Commentators for Deceptive Reviews Praising Flawed Scholarship Search Products
Students, parents, moms, and women should not put up with flawed, deceptive, and deliberate schemes by the main-stream media to promote suspicious scholarship products and/or services, as well as steer consumers toward favored government picks/informants.
If after reading reviews published by the likes of Suze Orman,Farnoosh Torabi, U.S.A. Today Reporter Julia Craven, Dana Dean, Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, you felt encouraged to purchase the scholarship product they deceptively promoted then you should consider legal action against both the commentator and his/her employer. A skilled attorney can make a convincing argument that these persons sought to deprive you of honest information or that their implied endorsements were negligent, omitted material facts, and caused you financial damages.
Summary CBS News Review of Scholarships Search Services
In an August 19th, 2013, column, another dim-witted member of the main-stream media, Marciene Mattleman of PHILADELPHIA (CBS), claimed that Mark Kantrowitz says "he knows everything about financing college." Hello Marciene: Eric Snowden claims he knows everything about protecting U.S. government secrets. You might want to ask Mr. Kantrowitz/FastWeb to explain his tax reporting of his relationship to NASFAA, and how a tax-exempt organization can legally sponsor a for-profit corporation? Unfortunately, I could not locate a single I.R.S. rule that allowed such a spsonsorship.
CBS News Review of Scholarships Search Services is a legitimate review and rebuke of the claim that Fastweb is the best website to search for scholarships, grants, and financial-aid. The best perfoming of the four scholarship search services had only a 20% success rate at matching students with scholarships that they were eligible for. What this means is that the time, effort, and expense of using scholarship search services like Scholarships.com, the College Board, Cappex, Zinch, and FastWeb may not be worth it. In a nutshell, these scholarship search companies fared so bad, that few students even benefitted.