NASFAA Mention: What About Fairness?

"The news stories left one feeling, yet again, that some wealthy parents will do just about anything to get their kids into college and to help them pay for it," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

"According to ProPublica Illinois and The Wall Street Journal, the scheme worked this way: wealthy parents would give a relative or friends guardianship of their high school kids. The children would then exercise their right to become financially independent of their guardians and qualify for federal, state or institutional aid. A college consulting group -- Destination College -- allegedly encouraged the behavior. (The consulting group didn't return calls.) And the Education Department is investigating.

Dozens of parents did this for their children -- even though the parents lived in some of Chicago's wealthiest suburbs.

The two journalism organizations each identified 40 families that have done this in the last two years. Talk radio was not kind to the families, noting that once again the system appeared to be designed for those willing to take advantage.

In the world of higher education, the reports left people scratching their heads. If doctors and lawyers do this, what can possibly be left for average folks or the truly poor?

The uncomfortable truth is that it may be easier to point out the flaws of the system than to fix it.


Jill Desjean, a policy analyst with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said the problem is that the situation is 'technically legal.' There aren't long lists of questions (now) that parents must answer about why they are giving up their guardianship rights.

Desjean said that there are legitimate reasons that students are placed into guardianship situations -- and not just for those who are wealthy. She urged members of Congress and others who want to promote change to do so with enough time to find out how many students are being placed into guardianships legitimately."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 7/31/2019

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