College is a large financial burden that many families struggle to pay for, which is why it is so unfair that wealthy families have crafted a way for their children to take financial aid from those who truly do not have the necessary funding to attend a university. Frankly, this is an embarrassment to the American education system.
About 66% of students receive some form of financial aid in order to help pay its cost, according to Collegeboard. Many factors determine how financial aid is given out, such as how a student’s family has saved and the total yearly income of the student’s parents.
Still, some wealthy families have found a loophole to exploit financial aid, and it is perfectly legal in the U.S.
Parents give up legal guardianship of the child near the end of high school, according to a July 30 Crain’s Chicago Business article. The parents then give guardianship to a different person, such as a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent. Then, once the student turns 18, they can register themselves as financially independent from their guardian.
“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,” according to a July 30 Crain’s Chicago Business article.
By doing this, families take away scholarships and other aid opportunities from students who truly need it. It is simply unfair for money to be given to those who, truthfully, don’t deserve it, while families that lack the proper funding struggle to get by. They scrape every penny they have together just to hope to send their child off to college.
“The Journal’s review of more than 1,000 probate court cases filed in 2018 in Lake County, Ill., turned up 38 cases in which a judge granted the transfer of guardianship to a teenager in his or her junior or senior year of high school,” according to a July 30 WallStreet Journal article. A lot of the families that used this loophole lived in homes with that cost them over $500,000 to live in and a few over one million.
Worst of all, this disgraceful exploitation of the financial aid system is perfectly legal under the U.S. government, meaning no punishment can be given to the wealthy families who have stolen financial aid that could have been someone else’s.
“I can assure you that whatever is happening at other schools, it is not happening at NIU,” NIU spokesperson Joe King said.
Even with aid, going to a college or university is extremely costly. It’s infuriating that families can easily take away money from kids that genuinely need it, just so they can save a few pennies. Hopefully in the near future, the government will find a way to fix this blemish on the American education system. If not, we can’t truly say we believe in fair education.