Monday, March 06, 2006

Watch those URL extensions!

I certainly hope this does not apply to law students, but our university paper, The Suffolk Journal reports on Wed., March 1, that a number of confused students went to

(note: I was fooled by this; the article in the university paper listed this as the free website and I did not look around. I just clicked on it and made sure it was a live URL. An alert reader left me a comment -- which you can read -- but upon reflection, I worried that perhaps blog readers might miss the excellent comment and fall into this misleading website. The .org extension just goes to prove that all you have to do is say you are a not-for-profit organization. I filled out a URL form once for an actual 501(c)(3) organization and it never required me to file any paperwork to prove we had IRS approval, or any reality at all as a non-profit organization.)

The first is a commercial website where they were charged $79.99 to file for their financial aid. They should have gone to the FREE government website (FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, ironically enough):

When the Suffolk University financial aid office called to complain, the company's CEO defended the sharp practice claiming that they were offering streamlining of a complicated process. Critics have included the U.S Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission and a number of other college financial aid administators nation-wide, according to the article in The Suffolk Journal. Apparently so far, no legal challenge to the company has been successful.

Moral of the story: Watch those URL extensions!

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