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Scholarship Search reviews.Is Fastweb.Com a legitimate search service?

A review of Fastweb.Com

This editorial discusses the scholarship search service. In a nutshell, the FastWeb.Com Scholarship site is a Scholarship matching service. However, FastWeb has also morphed into sponsoring scholarships. FastWeb claims to have a database of 1.5 million scholarships. Using the old-fashioned technology of email, FastWeb delivers Alerts straight to a student's inbox vs. digital Scholarship Alerts, which arrive via text. How many people carry around their laptop or desktop? Not many. Regardless, FastWeb is a scholarship search service that deserves a detailed review.

The distrustful main-stream media is infatuated with one particular source of scholarships, grants, and financial-aid: the FastWeb scholarship search service. Virtually 30 days barely goes without the media hunting down and scowering the earth to get the so-called &@34expert" opinion of one of the founders of the Fastweb Scholarship Search Service. Having relatives employed in the FTC helps and provides protection against allegations of improper conduct, and ensures media access and governmental connections.

This report concerns the quality, credibility, integrity, and legitimacy of the Fastweb scholarship search service amongst its peers in the scholarship search service industry, as well as how the FastWeb Search service markets it scholarship search services. We will conduct a detailed review of all major scholarship search service companies, and post our reviews without charge on this website. The reviews will be available in both text and audio format.

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Scholarship Search ReviewsFastWeb.Com Review: Is the Scholarship Search service legitimate?

In order to complete a review of FastWeb, it is necessary to discuss the history, origins, the founders, and the early beginnings of FastWeb. We believe that students should know a little something about the scholarship products they are using.

A true discussion of Fastweb cannot be completed unless we also discuss the controverial, and self-proclaimed "Financial-aid Expert", Mark Kantrowitz. Let's dive into the discussion.

Scholarship Registrations

To prepare this report, and to ensure that consumers and media analysts understand the nature and scope of this Fastweb media report, it is important that readers understand not only the current scholarship search services that Fastweb certainly offers, but that consumers clearly understand the historical facts surrouding the creation, marketing, partnerships, associated with the Fastweb scholarship search services, and why FastWeb sticks out amongst scholarship search service companies with its extreme political overtones, lottery-style scholarships, and its hip-and-joint relationship with the controversial Mark Kantrowitz.

FastWeb Reviews

Scholarship Search Reviews: History, Founding, and Creation of FastWeb Scholarship Search Service.

FinAid Page, Inc. and Fastweb were created at virtually the same time.Scholarship Registrations, L.L.C.,is a company organized in Delaware and has a Federal Employer Identification Number of 51-0377304. It was organized and formed in or about September 13, 1996, but when formed had a principal place of business in the state of Ilinois, Lake County. Mr. Robert Michelson was listed as the original Registered Agent, and he claimed to share the same office as, L.L.C. A Mr. Leon Heller was listed as the President of Trustar Investments, Inc., general partner of Trustar Investments, L.P., manager of Trustar, L.L.C., manager of, L.L.C., according to documents filed with Ilinois in 1996.

Scholarship Search Review: Formation of FastWeb Scholarship Search Service

Scholarship Registrations

Likewise, FinAid Page, Inc., was formed on July 2, 1996, barely 60 days prior to the formation of, L.L.C. It is a huge coincidence that two different companies formed in two different states at nearly the same time eventually become so entertwined together.

Over a span of 15 years, FastWeb has alternately claimed ownership by Student Services, Inc., Fast Web Inc., and FastWeb LLC.

In or about 1996, Student Services, Inc., placed an ad seeking advertisers for the FastWeb website on a site that matched content publishers with potential advertisers.

Before the formality of ad-serving networks, there was a company called Jupiter Communications. Jupiter Communications matched the bidding of publishers with potential advertisers. Under Student Services, Inc., FastWEB placed advertising inquiries claiming that it was the "the industry leader in the scholarship search service business."

Scholarship Search ReviewsGoogle, Inc. did not exist at the time, and it was easy for companies to make boisterous claims with very little statistics to substantiate their claims.

Barely a week after incorporating on July 9, 1996, Mark Kantrowitz "announced an agreement under which NASFAA (National Associaton of Student Financial-Aid Administrators) will sponsor FinAid for at least the next two years." In the same press release, Kantrowitz stated that he is "owner of FinAid" At the same time, Kantrowitz announced that he "helped NASFAA set up its public World Wide Web site.".

Although his "office" was nothing more than a student dorm on the campus of the Carnegie Mellon University campus, Mark Kantrowitz was able to secure a prominent relationship not only with NASFAA, but also with the *U.S. Department of Education, and the *Federal Trade Commission. (*In case the reader does not know, The U.S. Department of Education and the FTC are branches of the U.S. federal government.) This was an amazing feat for a person who:

  1. Did not meet the standard U.S. Government contracting requirement of having at least two years of tax financial returns before being able to secure a government contract;
  2. Did not have a government DUNN'S number prior to his relationship with a government agency;
  3. Did not complete a government required Central Contractor Registration agreement that allows a vendor to conduct business with the U.S. Government;
  4. Did not have a physical office apart from his dorm room;
  5. Was in business less than 6 months;
  6. *Was not required to meet the stringent requirements typically required of a private vendor interested in doing business with the federal government.

Scholarship Search ReviewsIn 1996, FastWeb claimed that it was affiliated with "over 300 colleges and universities." Nearly 100% of these colleges and universities were also members of NASFAA, which would early on become the chief sponsor of the Mark Kantrowitz FinAid page; the FinAid Page provided the vast traffic referrals to FastWeb.

While FastWeb was touting its credentials to potential advertisers, Kantrowitz was onboard also. He was claiming that the FastWEB is "The Intemet's largest free scholarship search!" service.

Scholarship Search ReviewsDuring this marketing blitz of self-promotions, and co-promotion of FastWeb and Kantrowitz, Mark Kantrowitz was hitting the media circuit and blasting companies that poised a financial challenge to the student loan companies that were featured advertisers on the FastWeb site. His targets were fee-charging scholarship sponsors, whose only apparent 'crime' was their audacity to solicit an administrative, application, or processing fee for the services they rendered in the administration of merit-based awards.

Regardless of the labor, expense, fuel, wages, and etc., FastWeb and Kantrowitz proclaimed such fees as unnecessary, and were even representative of a scam. It would take at least 10 years before a single U.S. Government employee, the N.Y. Attorney General, finally figured out something that this Publisher had first remarked about in 1996.

Scholarship Search Reviews Why would a person sponsored by NASFAA, and who accepted advertising fees from student loan companies, and who had no direct association with the administration or management of scholarship programs, be willing to so publicly attack the legality of assessing fees for services rendered WHEN the end-product poised a coincidental challenge to expensive, high-interest, student loans?

Scholarship Search ReviewsGrowth of FastWeb Scholaship Search Service
Winter of 1998 newsletter

In the winter of 1998, this Publisher obtained a newsletter that was published by, and which was mailed out of Indianapolis, IN. The newsletter contained very disturbing and graphic information. In a nutshell, the contents verified certain suspicions concerning the pervasive role and influence of Kantrowitz/NASFAA members in regards to the censorship policies of, and how students were being deprived of merit-based scholarship information. The newsletter also detailed the fact that the growth of Fastweb was largely fueled by NASFAA members, and heavy traffic referrals from FinAid.Org.

For example, in 1996, FastWeb barely had 300 participating colleges. In the Winter 1998 editions of its now discarded newletter, Fastweb boasted that "More than 1300 schools have become fastWEB members" What FastWeb did not disclose is that many, if not all, of these schools have ties to NASFAA, and that 100% of the referrals were blessed by the U.S. Department of Education. The newsletter also revealed a FastWEB Educational Advisory Board that was pre-loaded with representatives tied to NASFAA Member schools.

  1. Paula Abernathy
    Director, Student Financial Services
    John Hopkins University
  2. Phil George
    Financial Aid Director
    University of Wisconsin
  3. Keith Jensen
    Director of Financial Aid
    New York University
  4. Frank Resnick
    Chief Financial Officer
    Central Connecticut State Univ.
  5. Frank Granillo
    Director of Scholarship Office
    Arizona State University
  6. >Mark Kantrowitz
    Publisher and Financial Aid Expert
    FinAid Page, Inc.

Scholarship Search Reviews: Lottery-Style Monthly Scholarships Offered by FastWeb

In 1996, Mark Kantrowitz, the reputed co-founder of FastWeb, and its chief editorial writer, once remarked that certain fee-based scholarships were nothing more than lotteries. Those same scholarships employed a Select Committee, consultants, and required students to write detailed letters of recommendations, essays, and to perform traditonal requirements to be accurately judged as worthy of a merit-based award. Lottery-syle scholarships marketed by FastWeb actually deceive the student into thinking he/she has performed some meritorious work while in reality there is little thought in selecting the winners. Student contestants do as little as merely filling out their name, phone number, and address to enter into a lottery-stlye scholarship contest.

At the same time, of course, FastWeb attacks fee-based scholarships which many consider to be more genuine.

Scholarship Search Reviews: Association with Controversial Organizations.

FastWeb is associated with the National Scholarship Providers Association (N.S.P.A.), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and Carnegie Mellon University. All of these entities are also associated with Mark Kantrowitz; Mark Kantrowitz is a former student of CMU; he created the first website for NASFAA; he helped draft the idea for N.S.P.A., and is reputed to be one of the original board members of this controversial entity.

Carnegie Mellon University has been a member of NASFAA for many years. CMU is the same university that skirted the rules in 1996 and allowed a mere student, Mark Kantrowitz, to run rampant through CMU. Kantrowitz was allowed complete, total, and unfettered free reign of CMU resources and computing equipment. Under the leaderless ship of CMU, and its bankrupt morality, Mark Kantrowitz was allowed to create, host, and use his newly created website on state-funded CMU servers, and use a CMU phone numbers as his business office phone.

While staying at the Squirrel Hills CMU student apartments, Kantrowitz served himself on a platter to all gullible U.S. media, and naive governemment agencies as a "Financial-Aid Expert". His credibility was guranteed by the U.S. Department of Education and the FTC, but his credibility currency was as empty as CMU's morality. A detailed copy of his resume,which was obtained by this Publisher, revealed that Kantrowitz lacked any degree(s) in Business Administration, Management, or the administration, selection, or sponsorship of financial-aid programs. Neither was his "expert" status certified by any court, or disinterested government agency.

Furthermore, the published association of FastWeb with the N.S.P.A., is also a red-flag for censorship. Since its inception and creation, some persons believe that N.S.P.A. has been stacked with persons and institutions connected with NASFAA and/or Kantrowitz. In fact, the running theory is that the central purpose of the N.S.P.A. is to CENSOR legitimate scholarship information and financial-aid programs and instead to steer students towards entities connected to members of NASFAA or its paid advertisers.

N.S.P.A. has not been viewed by National Academy of American Scholars as a credible and trustworthy institution that has the bests interests of the students in mind.

If you ever wondered why your college tuition goes up every year, then keep feeding companies and scholarship search engines connected to N.S.P.A. If you are a student of economics, you have to understand how entities interconnected with NASFAA help raise tuition, censor information, and inflate student costs, and limit student choices. These forces combined to create the student load scandal, which N.S.P.A., was conveniently not designed to address.

However, if you are one of those generous students with unlimited amounts of money to waste, and you enjoy seeing higher book and tuition costs, and higher loan fees, then my advice is to continue to feed entities connected to NASFAA/NSPA.

Scholarship Search ReviewsFastWeb may not enjoy publicly disclosing its relationship with N.S.P.A., for several reasons. However unpleasants the facts may be, FastWeb is directly associated with and is a principal associate of N.S.P.A. During the height of the media hysterics of Kantrowitz in the 1990's when he claimed that scholarship fraud was rampant, NASFAA, FinAid, and the U.S. Department of Education colloborated on the creation of a central scholarship 'vetting' agency that some persons believe was designed to create a defacto government censorship of financial-aid programs.

This Publisher has the original literature of N.S.P.A. and this literature verifies its association with Kantrowitz, NASFAA, Fastweb.

With N.S.P.A., it should be no surprise that student loan fraud was so rampant because the Fox was guarding the hen house.

The strategy of serving as a duel scholarship search service, a member of N.S.P.S., and a media critic has blurred the lines of the FastWeb scholarship search service. The business strategy of creating a media critic like Kantrowitz, who hustles for the attention of main-stream reporters, is certainly controversial. The strategy caused NASFAA to terminate its public sponsorship of the FinAid page in 1996, within days of announcing a two-year sponsorship deal. Meanwhile, FastWeb was soliciting members of NASFAA.

In diverting attention from student loan companies, which would later be investigated for student loan fraud by the N.Y. Attorney General, to fee-based scholarship sponsors, FastWeb became a favorite source for student loan company advertisers. Instead of paying the cost of a "postage stamp", which is the maximum costs that Fastweb claimed students and parents should be willing to pay for scholarship information, these same students and parents nearly lost thousands of dollars to student loan fraud .

In fact, one might argue that the FastWeb scholarship search service is perhaps the most censored scholarship search service on the Internet. Numerous high-profile scholarship awards may never be featured on the FastWeb search service because of the political nature of Fastweb and its policy of filterng awards that may compete with its own lotterty-style scholarships, or compete against loan companies connected to NASFAA.

Through this recipe of diversion, special government privileges, and implicit censorship, Fastweb has flourished as a scholarship search service. Student loan companies connected to NASFAA have also flourished, and thousands of students have lost substantially more than a "postage stamp." to corrupt student loan companies. Meanwhile, FastWeb continues to proclaim that Kantrowitz is "Financial-Aid Expert" despite his lack of experience in the management, administration, and sponsorship of financial-aid programs, and his worrisome failure to criticize the student loan industry.

Scholarship Search ReviewsFastWeb.Com reviews: has a business model similar to other Scholarship Search companies Except...

In many ways, and aside from politics, Fastweb has a business model like many other modern scholarship search sites, except for its political division led by Mark Kantrowitz. FastWeb let students search for freely-listed scholarships in their database and offers monthly scholarship awards. From a scholarship search perspective, FastWeb is a fine scholarship search service. FastWeb provides students numerous scholarship entries. The question is whether the student is being steered towards a particular scholarship or steered clear of potential competitors. With its political overtones, FastWeb is somewhat of a gamble for students.

If you peel away the layers, you will find that virtually every person connected to FastWeb is also connected to NASFAA,NSPA, or NACAC; and, in several cases, as a direct result of their membership into NACAC and/or NASFAA. FastWeb requires students to complete a registration process before the students are eligible to review the basic Scholarship awards listed in the FastWeb scholarship database. Registration information collected includes First Name, Last Name, Email, Address,City, State, Zipcode, and Home Phone, Mobile Phone, and Date of Birth. Students must be 18 years old or older to enter the data asked for. Which means, that students under 18 years-old will be denied registration.

According to FaceBook statistics, this strict requirement will eliminate over 1 million eligible students looking for aid. In fact, since Kantrowitz censors all scholarships that impose an application, handling, or registration fee, a vast number of legitimate scholarships are excluded from the FastWeb database.

Scholarship Search Reviews: Summary of the FastWeb Scholarship Site Review

In summary, FastWeb is a fine scholarship search service minus its political layers. We really like the fact that FastWeb does not censor from students postings of legitimate and resourceful scholarship information posted by sponsors not connected to Fastweb. FastWeb provides students the ability to search and receive electronic notices of pending and current scholarship opportunities.

The information collected by FastWeb is typically shared with its advertisers or sponsors. The practice of sharing data with advertisers or sponsors is not unusual or atypical.

When students log into their respective profile area, students are immediately bombarded with an array of choices and possibilities. Some of these choices are irrelevant and may be considered spam.

With so much clutter, and ads, it can be difficult to navigate through the client area. Contrary to the statements of its leader, Mark Kantrowitz, in 1996, FastWeb has now created lottery-style scholarships. The scholarships require no processing fee. The scholarships do not require any detailed meritorious review, or even essay. Consequently, one may argue the position that many of applicants to the FastWeb scholarships are being dumbed down to mask their inability to write, to articulate world opinions, to compile data, and to generate the traditional recommendation letter; all features denounced by Mark Kantrowitz in 1996.

Lastly, FastWeb is far too political and too preachy. FastWeb assumes that its users simply cannot draw their own conclusions about the merits of various scholarships, and therefore, Big Brother FastWeb, censors the award in advance.

Our recommendation to FastWeb is to dump the columns of Mark Kantrowitz, clean-up the profile area, eliminate its scholarship spam offerings, and to provide students access to a non-censored scholarship database. In implementing , these recommendations, FastWeb has the potential to be a long-standing leader in the scholarship search industry.

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