[caption id="attachment_121680" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Education Secretary Arne Duncan (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
In an effort to prevent confusion, the federal government is taking the domain name of a company that offers assistance in applying for student financial aid.
Student Financial Aid Service, Inc. has agreed to give up their FAFSA.com domain to the federal government, which will eventually redirect to FAFSA.gov. SFAS will operate from SFAS.com.
SFAS transferred the domain voluntarily after discussions with the Department of Education to help avoid confusion, according to The Huffington Post. They have faced legal action from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which fined the company $5.2 million for deceptive sales tactics and unauthorized recurring charges. The money will be distributed to the affected consumers by the CFPB.
SFAS makes it clear on their site that they are not affiliated with the Department of Education, as well as the fact that the FAFSA can be filed for free, but explains that their service acts as “just like a tax preparer” if a filer wants guidance. Similar sites exist, offering to act as middlemen to avoid government bureaucracy.
“Students and families applying for federal student aid shouldn’t have any confusion about whether they’re on the official FAFSA website or a commercial website,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a CFPB press release.