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Tue Jul 30, 2019, 03:06 AM

Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid

Dozens of suburban Chicago families, perhaps many more, have been exploiting a legal loophole to win their children need-based college financial aid and scholarships they would not otherwise receive, court records and interviews show.

Coming months after the national “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, this tactic also appears to involve families attempting to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive and expensive college admissions system.

Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else — a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent. The guardianship status then allows the students to declare themselves financially independent of their families so they can qualify for federal, state and university aid, a ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

“It’s a scam,” said Andy Borst, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Wealthy families are manipulating the financial aid process to be eligible for financial aid they would not be otherwise eligible for. They are taking away opportunities from families that really need it.”

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/university-of-illinois-financial-aid-fafsa-parents-guardianship-children-students

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Reply Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid (Original post)
TexasTowelie Jul 2019 OP
Igel Jul 2019 #1
Celerity Jul 2019 #2

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Jul 30, 2019, 05:41 PM

1. Yeah, it's a scam.

U. Calif. schools back in the '90s cracked down on the requirements to declare oneself "in state" for tuition purposes. It was hard, cutting ties with your old state and setting up shop in California, and doing that after arriving in the state but before the first day of school.

I managed to do it--dotted the last i and crossed the last t the day before the first day of classes, and until then dealt with banks, living accommodations, storage facilities, changing addresses on things like credit cards and insurance, getting phone service, drivers license, and making sure that the old license was official disposed of. Pain in the butt. Then I completed the paperwork and had it all submitted by 5 pm the day before classes. They tried to disallow the application, but there was no connection.

The flip side of the scam are institutions that are so suspicious of family wealth and parents' helping their scions that they don't have an ageist policy that says, "if you're under 21 you have to submit your parents' or guardians tax returns," but require those of *all* applicants (tax return or death certificate). I was 31, had been self-supporting for many a year, applied to this school, and then had to ask my parents for a copy of their prior year's tax return.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 02:24 AM

2. In Illinois last year, about 82,000 students who were eligible for the MAP grant, up to about $5,000

did not receive it because there wasn’t enough money. The grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

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