Image of a building at York College, a school where students graduate with below average student debt.

It’s no secret that college is getting more expensive each year. According to The Student Loan Report, the overall average debt per graduate is $16,900 with the average debt per graduate from public schools at $15,591 and the debt per graduate from private schools at $19,394.

With those numbers in mind, it makes sense that many students and their families are desperate to find as much financial aid as possible to help cover the costs of higher education. Unfortunately, that also leaves some unlucky borrowers and college prospects susceptible to scams.

Recognizing this issue, The Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Missouri is warning local high school and college students (and their parents) to be careful when using companies that offer financial assistance according to Fox2now.

Chris Thetford from the BBB explained that people sometimes believe they have a better chance of receiving aid if a professional company fills out the paperwork for them. But the truth is that these companies often take your money and don't produce any results. Afterwards, these companies often fail to offer any refunds.

Department of Education Holding Financial Aid Experiment

Instead, the BBB recommends utilizing your high school’s guidance office or, if already in college, the financial aid office on campus where staff members can guide you in the financial aid process. This is in response to a growing trend in student loan scams by companies looking to capitalize off the desperation that is so common with student loan debtors. Rising tuition only opens the door wider for these companies to get a foothold.

Of course, it also helps to research schools to see what kind of debt its students accumulate during their studies before taking on debt. There are schools that leave graduates with almost no debt, like York College in New York, where students leave with an average of $306 of debt. On the flip side, there is Metropolitan College of New York, where students rack up an average of $45,000 in debt, and Quinnipiac University grads leave with an average of $32,000 in loans according to data from The Student Loan Report.

Image Copyright © John Eichert