[EDITOR'S NOTE: I've wanted to test out ProPublica's "Steal our stories" feature ever since Ryan Sholin tried it last month. I found this story especially interesting, since I've discussed bad ads (and how to make them more valuable) on the blog before. It's interesting to note that several local news orgs use these types of ads on their sites (although they're often randomly generated).]
Bogus ‘Obama Mom’ Grants Lure Students
by Sharona Coutts ProPublica, July 23, 10:34 a.m.
July 26: This story has been corrected.
Listen to Marketplace’s version of this story.
After being laid off from her job as a high school teacher in Dayton, Ohio, Nicole Massey decided to go back to college. For months, she scoured the Web for ways to fund her tuition, while supporting her 10-year-old son, Tyler. So when ads turned up in Massey’s inbox claiming that President Barack Obama had created special college grants and scholarships for single mothers, her hopes soared.
“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. Read the rest of this entry »