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Showing posts with label Scholly Scholarship App. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scholly Scholarship App. Show all posts

Sunday, October 13, 2013

CBS News Reporter Debunks Myth of FastWeb Scholarship Search Services, and other prime Scholarship Search Services

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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blogger Rates The Scholly Scholarship App an 'F'

Blogger Rates The Scholly Scholarship App an 'F'

The Scholly Scholarship App has received an excessive amount of media publicity as of late. The Scholly Scholarship App has received main-stream media attention as well as attention from students, parents, and educators since it was launched in or about May of 2013. The Scholly Scholarship App is a mobile application that presumably searches for scholarships, grants, and financial-aid based upon pre-set options of the resident state a scholarship applicant lives in; the race of the scholarship applicant; the GPA of the scholarship applicant; the gender of the Scholarship applicant; the major of the scholarship applicant; and, the grade of the scholarship applicant.

The Scholly Scholarship App also has a processing or purchase fee. According to media critics, and the FTC, consumers should be cautious because the fee is suggestive of a scholarship scam. However, is The Scholly Scholarship App really a scam? Are the creators of the Scholly Scholarship App intentionally trying to take advantage of students and parent's frantic search for scholarships by requiring a 'fee' for information that is already in the public domain, or is the Scholly Scholarship App providing a useful service that merits a fee?

The Scholly Scholarship App: Rising Tuition, Student-Debt, and Greed Increases Scholarship Entrepreneurs

With virtually no experience in the administration, management, or development of scholarship search, scholarship administration, or scholarship selection protocols, the new millennium of 2000 has witnessed a surge of Scholarship Entrepreneurs. Skeptics have referred to these new-breed scholarship entrepreneurs and new-breed scholarship operators as synonymous with crooked pastors: promising scholarship glory, or promising to create, find, or search for scholarships-- all for a fee. According to Financial-Aid Expert Mark Kantrowitz: You should not have to pay money to get money. The Scholly Scholarship App is not free. Students, parents, and users of The Scholly Scholarship App are being asked to fork over .99 cents. The Consumer Division of the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers of paying more than a postage stamp for scholarship information; 99 cents is more than the cost of a postage stamp. Relying upon the 'expert' advice of Mark Kantrowitz, and the FTC, one may certainly consider or regard The Scholly Scholarship App as a scam. However, such a conclusion may be too premature. Read on!!

Is the Scholly Scholarship App A Scam since it Costs Money?

Is the Scholly Scholarship App A Scam? On January 24, 1996, FinAid Page, Inc. owner, and self-professed Financial-Aid Expert, Mark Kantrowitz, was quoted as saying "Beware of any 'scholarship' (scholarship product) which requests an application fee " On February 8, 1996, the President of the Boston chapter of the Better Business Bureau, stated:"Any time you have to pay money to get money for a scholarship, you should be wary." The consumer division of the Federal Trade Commission makes discreet but direct warnings against paying even a penny for scholarship information, directly or indirectly.

According to Kantrowitz, his top four rules of thumb for ascertaining scholarship scams are as follows:

  1. If you must pay money to get money, it might be a scam.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Spend the time, not the money.
  4. Never invest more than a postage stamp to get information about scholarships.

By way of the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, and the theories of self-proclaimed Financial-Aid Expert Mark Kantrowotz, it is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable question to ask: Is the Scholly Scholarship App a Scam? If you accept the above-stated rules of thumb, and the FTC opinions, then the unmistakable conclusion is that the Scholly Scholarship App is highly suggestive of a scam and that the Scholly Scholarship App has certain characteristics of a scam.

I emphasize that these rules of thumb do not necessarily mean or imply that the Scholly Scholarship App is a scam. The download, purchase, or app processing fee is a red-flag that should be considered as a caution to consumers or educators. In fact, the creators of the Scholly Scholarship App have a legal right to assess a processing, purchase, or download fee to their mobile scholarship application if they opt to pursue that option.

At the same time, however, moms, women, educators, and students have a legal choice to ignore the Scholly Scholarship App. Consumers have choices. The Scholly Scholarship App creators have choices, and their choice was to require hard-working, financially-strapped students, to pay a download, purchase, or processing fee for simple information that is already in the public domain. Their choice could have been to perform a noble public service and allow the app to be free.

Inferior Reviews of the Scholly Scholarship App by Unqualified Reporters.

The inadequate, inferior, and mind-numbing reviews of The Scholly Scholarship App are more impressive than the app itself. Let me cite some examples. Julia Craven of the USA TODAY, a Collegiate Correspondent wrote a review of the Scholly Scholarship App that makes one wonder Why. Who, and How she got hired for U.S.A. Today. For example, consider this article dialogue:

"The fact that it's on the mobile (phone) really hits the audience," says Soham Bhonsle, 21, a Scholly user and Drexel University senior. "It serves the need of its time. We want it on the go." 

"Pay 99 cents and you may get $5,000 or $6,000 in scholarships," Soham Bhonsle says.

The app potentially has a huge payoff, Soham Bhonsle says.


Essentially, the entire article is a one-sided promotion of a suspicious product or service with virtually no written content or objective questions being asked by or written by the U.S.A. Today reporter. Neither did the U.S.A. Today reporter deduce whether or not Soham Bhonsle is a valid independent critic to interview, and neither did the U.S.A. Today reporter question his relationship to either the app or its creators.

If you analyze the key phrases spoken by Soham Bhonsle, they are suggestive of a scam. He said: "Pay 99 cents and you may get $5,000 or $6,000 in scholarships." Why didn't he say you may get a $100 or $200 scholarship? His statements may legally be interpreted as an inducement to pay (or gamble) the .99 cents in hopes of winning a large scholarship pay-off although he provides no disclaimer of how many users have won $5,000 or or $6,000 before, and neither did he offer ANY statistics.

The article review by U.S.A. Given her questionable employment credentials. U.S.A. Today Reporter Julia Craven never challenged that statement, and the same statement remains posted on the U.S.A. Today page by U.S.A. Today Reporter Julia Craven.

The app potentially has a huge payoff, Soham Bhonsle says. True. The app has a potentially large pay-off for its creators, but I doubt any student will find a legitimate scholarship listed by the Scholly Scholarship App that they can't find elsewhere for absolutely free.

Dana Dean, a reporter with KSDK News Channel 5 in St. Louis, MO, scripted a poorly produced video review of the Scholly Scholarship App. While discussing the features of the app, she attempts to zoom in on the app but the camera lacks the proper focus, and the image appears fuzzy; like her brain, I suppose. Instead of asking important questions that real consumers, not shrills, want to hear, she goes on and on endorsing every aspect of a suspicious product without providing any meaningful investigative content.

Apparently, Dana Dean never bothered to read the FTC memo on scholarship scams. That could possibly be explained by a lapse of the atoms, molecules, and neurons gathered in the cerebral cortex region of her brain, or another explanation could be that she simply was not qualified to discuss the topic that she was discussing. Ask Dana Dean to explain the characteristics of various quadric surfaces, identify their symmetries, and determine the character of the plane sections that are perpendicular to their axes, and most likely Dana Dean will fumble the answer.

Neither Dana Dean nor U.S.A. Today Reporter Julia Craven are qualified to either write a review of any scholarship program, any scholarship app, or any financial-aid product or service, just like they are not qualified to provide investment advice to a multi-millionaire; which of course, he/she would most likely not hire either one.

Better Alternatives to The Scholly Scholarship App: NAAS Scholarship App.

Register for Free NAAS Mobile Scholarship App Downloads

As a general rule of thumb, beware of mobile apps or hyped-media products that have names that are not legally protected, or on file with the U.S. Patent & Trademark office because such products may be copycats. I have found no record that the creators of The Scholly Scholarship App have filed any legal notices with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office affirming their right to use Scholly Scholarship App name.

The NAAS Scholarship App is currently in production, testing, and review. It will feature all of the characteristics of the Scholly Scholarship App, but do much more. Unlike the limitations of the Scholly Scholarship App, it will be a fast, native scholarship application, and accomodate all persons seeking scholarships, grants, and financial-aid. The NAAS Scholarship App, code-named Project X1, will be one of the greatest and most impactful Scholarship Apps in the history of the United States of America. It will first be promoted to NAAS Scholarship Club members, and then to the general public. Reviewers of this article are urged to register with the NAAS Scholarship Club for a free download.

One of the salient features of the NAAS Scholarship App is that students will be able to apply for actual scholarships directly from their mobile phones. Numerous partners have already been recruited, and Scholarship Club members will be able to take advantage of the numerous benefits, privileges, and services, and features for FREE!

Yes, the NAAS Scholarship App will be completely for FREE because searching for scholarships should be free.

We urge students, undergraduates, to join the NAAS Scholarship Club for free updates, and to receive a free download of the NAAS Scholarship App when it is available.

Why The Scholly Scholarship App Deserves an 'F' Grade

There appears to be no feature or service within the Scholly Scholarship that is either unique, novel, original, or cannot be easily replicated by a well functioning mobile website. Is the Scholly Scholarship App native or original? The creators of the Scholly Scholarship App do not disclose that information. There is too much missing information.

Although I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the kids who created The Scholly Scholarship App, I am far from impressed with the features, lack of creativity, lack of disclosures, and functions of the Scholly Scholarship App.

For university graduates of an NCAA school (Drexel University) to create a product that merely duplicates public information and transfers it to a mobile platform and expect the public to endorse the product (via a purchase fee) is outrageous and juvenile. A teenage drop-out can produce a better product.

Scholly Scholarship App Creators are Graduates from Drexel University

The creators of the Scholly Scholarship App are graduates of Drexel University. The main-stream media would have you believe that Drexel University is in the same class of distinction and prestige of an NCAA Division I university. In fact, Fox News and other media channels have named Drexel University in articles and reported that for-profit colleges "dubious training have led massive portions of students to default on their student-loans."

As I stated above, The Scholly Scholarship App lacks the tell-tale signs that it was created by a Division I graduate of a prestigious university like Purdue University, Harvard, M.I.T., Cal-Tech, etc. Drexel University has a for-profit component with the exact same name; what a brilliant idea??!

It is not clear if the creators of The Scholly Scholarship App received their degees and training from the for-profit Drexel University or the private Drexel University. If the Scholly Scholarship App creators received their training from a for-profit school then they are in the same league as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, etc. Being graduates from a for-profit school would explain a lot of things, including the decision of Drexel University to delete a reference of this article from their FaceBook timeline that several students had already 'liked'; and, the fact that the Scholly Scholarship App is so lacking in creativity, originality, and why the creators are banking on this app -- instead of their Drexel University "degrees"--- to fuel their career.

Explanation of Grade 'F' to the Scholly Scholarship App

It is my opinion that The Scholly Scholarship App is another over-hyped product by misinformed and unqualified members of the media desperately seeking to apply "success" to virtually any product or service produced by or affiliated with young college kids or young college adults. For example, read my critical review of Black Girls Code, and the fact that I have yet to receive the requested tax returns verifying the legitimacy of this alleged tax exempt group, and neither has the founder Kimbery Bryant answered a single one of my questions.

My recommendation to creators of the Scholly Scholarship App is to: apply your degree in the real world. Becoming a Scholarship Entrepreneur is not what the world needs. We need engineering, science, and medical talent. Leave scholarship tasks to the persons with 15 or more years of experience.

For the reasons above, and more, I issue a letter grade of 'F' for the Scholly Scholarship App. I would not recommend The Scholly Scholarship App product or service to any student. No student simply searching for scholarships, grants, and/or financial-aid should be taxed a fee disguised as a purchase in any form, manner, or way. Wait for the free NAAS Scholarship App. It will be well worth it. Register now for FREE DOWNLOADS.

Sincerely,
Ron Thomas, Professional Freelance Scholarship Blogger
Special Correspondent to National Academy of American Scholars.
My Commercial Rates: $250/hr.
Note: The views and opinions herein are my own and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or organization(s).
Register for Free NAAS Mobile Scholarship App Downloads