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Companies are creating disinformation to lure in online college students

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posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 03:23 AM
I heard a story on the radio lastnight that was extremely disturbing..

We know that colleges and universities make millions, if not billions of dollars off student tuitions. Especially considering the immense tuition costs we have today.

It turns out that some colleges and universities are hiring companies, called "lead generators", to target ads containing false information towards certain kinds of people in hopes of finding new student prospects. Especially, single mothers, believe it or not. These companies are usually subsidiaries of larger companies that generate new leads for big online universities and then sell them people's contact information. This competition for new student recruits is fierce and growing.

At first, you might think this should be expected because of the economic situation we're in right now. But when I heard a reporter talking about how deep this really went, I was floored.

People are seeing online ads designed to lure in students by an "Obama scholarship program" for single mothers that can provide them with $10,000 dollars, immediately, to go back to school. Only thing is, no such scholarship exists.

I did some research because I was disturbed to hear in the news story that companies are not only creating disinformation to "troll" for new student prospects but that certain credit-monitoring companies are even in on the uptake.. From what I've heard these companies that create these ads are usually extremely difficult to track down. Expectedly, the larger companies that own these smaller "lead generator" companies have been asked about this matter but all of them have declined to comment.

It turns out that "Lead Generation" is a mult-billion dollar industry that most of us have never heard about.

What people are seeing online are either ads or stories like these..

The Obama Moms Return to School Program - $10,000 is Available to You Now

PRLog (Press Release) – Apr 21, 2010 – Many people have questions regarding the Obama moms return to school program. And rightly so. Women are now able to get a $10,000 scholarship for moms from private companies that support Obama in wanting all mothers to return to school.

Scholarship Fact: $10,000 is given out each month to women who need and want an education.

Many women do not know about these scholarship programs, because of Obama's stimulus money he has given to student, this program has been coined:

1. The Obama Moms return to school program
2. The Obama single mothers go to college
3. The Obama grants for moms and the Barack Obama college scholarship

As you can see, these scholarships have been called many things. These companies that help women go back to school use money that has been donated to them.

This one even admits that various companies call the scholarship program different things which, itself, should throw up red flags to just about everybody who reads this garbage. The only reason so many names exist for the program is because it doesn't exist and each company probably calls it something different.

The Obama Moms Return to School Program - Get a $10,000 Free Scholarship for Single Mothers

This program has been called many things such as, President Obama college scholarships, Obama grants for moms, Obama stay at home moms scholarships, and the President Obama grants for mothers program. Regardless of the name that you have heard a call by it refers to private companies issuing you a $10,000 scholarship to help you go to college and is not given by Obama himself.

However, we are of the belief that money is money and if you need money to the school in applying for one of these easy to get scholarships is a fast way to get all the money and funding that you need to get your education.

Financial aid is also commonly called Obama college scholarships as it gives you free grant money to go to school and has also called Obama money for moms. As you can see there is quite a bit of money available for you to go back-to-school. you have a free $10,000 scholarship to get plus you have financial aid to.

There is now no reason for you to have to dip into your savings account in order to get money for college. And the best part about getting free money for school is that you never have to pay it back and you will not be in debt when you graduate.

The great part about this money is that you could even go to school remotely from your own home. You can get complete college degree in the comfort of your own home with free money.


Did you know that you can get a Free $10,000 Scholarship just for registering?

Just enter your name and email address.

Maybe this guy can go back to college and learn how to spell. It just makes me sick that these companies are doing this. Alot of single mothers really want to go back to school but they're being lured in by this promise of free money because they don't know any better. Calling it the "Obama" scholarship program makes it sound more believable to them.

What happens is you follow the links promising thousands of dollars to go back to school, you enter in your contact information. Then you get inundated with phone calls from various online universities, which is when you find out the program is non-existent. Of coarse, the schools offer other means of financial aid that are available and hope you'll comply (which is obviously not what you signed up for).

Some independent investigative journalists are hearing about this story and, with just a little bit of digging, are discovering that this is all just a huge unethical, illegal marketing campaign.

Many universities have recently recieved taxpayer money to support their activities during the harsh economic times. But if that is the case, then isn't this huge illegal marketing campaign being funded, at least in part, by taxpayer dollars?

Here's a little more on the story from ..

Bogus ‘Obama Mom’ Grants Lure Students

"You see his picture," Massey said, "so I clicked on it." The link took her to a new window, where she was asked to enter her name, age and other information about the degree she wanted. The site then produced a list of schools that lined up with Massey's choices.

Almost immediately, recruiters from for-profit colleges, including the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, Grand Canyon University and a couple of local schools, bombarded Massey with e-mails and calls.

"That's when I would bring up the thing, 'What about the Obama loans? What about the money for the single moms in the stimulus?'" she said. "And they would say, 'Well, we'll call you back with more information about that.'"

They never did -- and little wonder: "There is no such thing as an Obama grant for moms," said Robert Shireman, who until early this month was deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education. "Moms are eligible for federal financial aid generally -- Pell Grants, student loans and other aid -- but nothing specific to moms or single moms." Nevertheless, the Obama mom ads have become "ubiquitous," he said.

For-profit universities and career colleges are flourishing in the down economy, thanks in part to a gusher of taxpayer money flowing into the federal government's Pell Grant program for economically needy students. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already enrolled in for-profit colleges, which are fiercely competing for new recruits.

The grant windfall has fueled another boom: for online marketers that gather contact information from prospective students and sell it to schools. Just a few years ago, these firms, known as lead generators, fed the subprime mortgage machine. Now they are earning more than $1 billion a year for finding prospective students, according to one industry estimate.

This one looks like its the exact story I heard over the radio yesterday..

Bogus ‘Obama Mom’ Grants Lure Students

The ad said Obama's government was handing out $10,000 scholarships to single mothers to go back to school. There are lots of ads like these online. Some appear next to e-mail. Others pop up in social networking sites. There's only one problem.

Robert Shireman: There is no such thing as an Obama scholarship for moms.

Robert Shireman ran the financial aid program at the Department of Education until early this month.

Shireman: However, moms are eligible for federal financial aid generally -- Pell grants, student loans and other aid. But nothing specific to moms or single moms.

So what's the deal? The ads are produced by companies called lead generators, who earn upwards of a billion dollars a year to find new students for colleges, mostly for-profit. And those for-profit schools are making billions too, by signing up low-income students, who often pay tuition with government grants and loans. The Career College Association says most of those students are women, and over half have of them dependent children. That makes mothers a lucrative market for for-profit schools -- mothers like Nicole Massey.

There is much more about this story online and the word is getting out both online and over the radio but I haven't seen it yet on any of the MSM news agencies.

Has anyone else here on ATS heard about this issue? What can we do about it? What else would big online educational institutions do to get new students if they're willing to do this?



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