A San Diego company that claimed it was helping Iowa students find ways to pay for college has agreed to stop doing business in the state. Assistant Attorney General, Steve St. Clair, says Student Financial Resource Center would send out letters to high school students that were designed to look important.
“The solicitations were easily mistaken for some sort of official communication from some sort of governmental or educational authority,” St. Clair says. He says an Iowa school teacher complained after getting such a letter and paying a fee. “They charge $65 for information that for the most part — a student just going on-line or checking with the high school guidance, or other resources at the school or the college they were interested in — could get for free,” St.Clair says.
He says the letter could easily have been mistaken as being connected to Free Application for Federal Student Aid, know as FAFSA that students fill out to get financial aid. St. Clair says the company would take a few facts from the return letter sent by people and send back some paperwork that had limited personalization for the student. He says the document was presented as an official communication and the money was called “a processing fee,” instead of a payment for service.
The company has agreed to stop sending the letters to Iowans. “They also agreed to make refunds to any Iowans who stepped forward and said that they lost money in this manner. And they also agreed to pay $25,000 the state consumer education fund,” St. Clair says.
He says you can get a refund if you answered the letter and paid the fee. St. Clair says you can contact their office, with the easiest way being online at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov. You can also call the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or toll free at 1-888-777-4590 (outside the Des Moines area).