Graduation Cap On Dollar Banknotes

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. 

Businesswoman looking through a magnifying glass to contract

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.

More Opinion Stories

  • Updated

It may be too soon for students to celebrate marijuana legalization because NIU’s marijuana policy will still stand. This is a blessing in disguise.

  • Updated

The news is constantly battling for our attention through our luminescent screens, as well as radio and print media. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, this constant stream of information may be contributing to the creation and prolongation of echo chambers, which are harmful for everybod…

  • Updated

On Nov. 5, China announced regulations for minors playing video games. This is part of a series of regulations released by the National Press and Publication Administration, according to the Guardian. 

  • Updated

As I started filling out college applications my senior year of high school, I realized that I wasn’t doing enough and sports weren’t going to cut it, so I joined my high school’s Youth & Government program.

  • Updated

Words like crazy, mad, insane and feeble-minded may come up when thinking about mental illness. Whether they are antiquated or in present-day vernacular, negative sounding words like these are linked to the social stigma surrounding mental health. To combat this stigma, students can take cer…