NASFAA Mention: A Fresh Abuse Rattles College Admissions: Parents Give Up Custody of Their Children So They Can Get Student Aid

"Another scandal is unfolding in the world of college admissions. Like Operation Varsity Blues, the infamous scheme that helped applicants cheat on standardized tests and bribe college coaches to get into elite institutions, this one appears to demonstrate the lengths to which more-affluent families will go to pave their children’s way through college," The Chronicle of Higher Education writes

"This time it’s financial aid — not acceptance letters — that families are trying to secure. According to articles published on Monday by ProPublica Illinois and The Wall Street Journal, parents in the Chicago suburbs transferred the guardianship of their children to relatives or friends so that the children would qualify as independents. That way, the children did not have to report their parents’ income when they applied for federal, state, and university financial aid.


Jill Desjean, a policy analyst at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said she’d never heard of anything like this before. She said it would be a difficult thing for financial-aid officers to notice, because it’s not illegal.

Financial-aid officers can ask more questions of students, as Illinois is doing, but Desjean said admissions officers need to balance their efforts to prevent exploitation with ensuring that students who do need financial aid don’t get overwhelmed by bureaucratic hurdles.

'Any time you ask a student for more information, you introduce the possibility that they don’t follow up and they are not eligible to get financial aid because of it,' she said. 'If this is their first time through the financial-aid process they may just assume, I’m not qualified for it.'"

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: 7/30/2019

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