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College aid “scam” uncovered here

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019

* Bullet points…


* ProPublica Illinois

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. […]

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.” […]

ProPublica Illinois found more than 40 guardianship cases fitting this profile filed between January 2018 and June 2019 in the Chicago suburbs of Lake County alone. The parents involved in these cases include lawyers, a doctor and an assistant schools superintendent, as well as insurance and real estate agents. A number of the children are high-achieving scholars, athletes and musicians who attend or have been accepted to a range of universities, from large public institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Missouri and Indiana University, to smaller private colleges.

Go read the rest. Sheesh. And keep in mind that the money for the state’s need-based MAP grants is never enough to cover all applicants. So, these kids could be taking grant money away from students who actually deserve it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

74 Comments
  1. - Anon Y - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    Shame on them…


  2. - JT - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:35 am:

    My wife and I got married when she had one semester left as an undergraduate and I was a graduate student. At that point she became independent of her parents and “poor” since I was also a student and she received over $5,000 in federal pell grant money. This is real money these people are scamming and it is robbing those who are truly in need.


  3. - Archpundit - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:35 am:

    This isn’t new as I recall hearing of the same scam back in the 80s but I’d love to know if the scale has changed as costs increased.


  4. - D - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:37 am:

    Setting aside the outrage for a moment…This kind of behavior is created by the astronomical cost of college education. I feel for people that aren’t poor enough to be considered low income but aren’t rich enough to do it on their own. they are stuck, debt consumes them


  5. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    This infuriates me.
    Again
    The Privileged gaining
    for THEIR advantage.
    I am especially sensitive to this
    sending the older kid to college
    in two weeks
    My youngest is a senior.
    I am literally gambling with
    ever being able to retire
    because the student debt incurred
    may follow us to the grave.
    But my kids education is worth it.
    So I am sacrificing
    When they are cheating.
    So infuriated


  6. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    If these were families who wouldn’t be able to send their kids to school otherwise, I’d chalk it up to a sign of a broken system that only lets those with money get a college education. But when it’s the families that can afford it exploiting a loophole… let’s just say “sheesh” is the nicest thing I can say.


  7. - Atbat - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    Your headline is misleading - this is a scam, not a “scam” - being defined as a dishonest scheme; a fraud.


  8. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:49 am:

    Not in any way condoning this. “Needs-based” should be based on actual needs. However, I also don’t think we can ignore this as testimony to the impact of higher ed costs on almost all students and families.


  9. - A guy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    Totally a scam. Every one of these cheats deserves the Felicity Huffman treatment!


  10. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    This is sad. The federal government subsidizing higher and higher tuition has encouraged this scam. The wealthy will always find a way .


  11. - Regular democrat - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    I had to read it twice to make sure i understood the concept. Its a scam on steroids. Dont know how people sleep at night


  12. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:52 am:

    What is triply infuriating is that it is not just the parents who are mendacious, but the scam also involves the students themselves who absolutely have to know the score with respect to the guardianship, as well as a compliant (and dishonest) friend or relative necessary to bring the scam full circle. Ugh.


  13. - Curious - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    Since this is a question on the Federal FAFSA form, what will or can be done on the state level to allow colleges and universities to check further into student applications and deny financial aid if this sort of thing is found?


  14. - Van Helsing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    18 year olds should be able to borrow independently of their parents (no-cosigning). If they can serve in the military and vote, they shouldn’t be required (as is the case now) to get their parents to co-sign on loans to attend college. The current situation puts parents on the hook unfairly when their adult child defaults on a loan without exception, including illness or other things outside of a parent or child’s control.


  15. - Whom - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    It would be interesting if any cabinet member utilized her services. I wonder if any of those folks are connected with the owner of destiny college, lora georgieva on linked in.


  16. - Downstate - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    It’s akin to removing toilets just to avoid a property tax bill. One man’s legal loophole is another’s “scheme to defraud”.


  17. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:11 am:

    I’m not justifying the practice, but just because one lives in the north suburbs doesn’t make them “wealthy” and even if their income is higher, often their cost of living is higher. I imagine the families that are utilizing this scheme are not super wealthy and are just doing this to game the system — I’m guessing these are families that are truly struggling to afford college.


  18. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    It’s not clear from the article whether the student retains the ability to stay on their parents health insurance until age 26 when guardianship is changed. If so, this is a complete scam.


  19. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    There just aren’t a lot of people who can afford to send their kids to college without financial aid, or the kids going into debt right at the beginning of their careers.


  20. - Rachel - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    Van Helsing - the federal student loan program does not require a co-signer. Undergraduate, dependent students may borrow up to $31,000 ($23,000 of it with subsidized interest) to pay for their undergraduate educations. Parents can also borrow under the federal program. If a parent can’t qualify for the program, then their child may be able to borrow up to the higher limits set for independent students.


  21. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    == 18 year olds should be able to borrow independently of their parents (no-cosigning). If they can serve in the military and vote, they shouldn’t be required (as is the case now) to get their parents to co-sign on loans to attend college. The current situation puts parents on the hook unfairly when their adult child defaults on a loan without exception, including illness or other things outside of a parent or child’s control. ==

    Let me add a caution to this from personal experience. In the case of Sallie Mae loans (different name today), if the co-signer passes away, the entire co-signed amount becomes due and payable immediately from the estate of the deceased. This can cause a mess of your estate plans …


  22. - GC - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    Attention needs to be paid to these guardianship cases and not to the FAFSA regs. Yours truly benefitted from this rule in college… My (impoverished) grandmother was my bona fide guardian and didn’t (couldn’t) support me. Legally, her obligation to do so expired at the age of 18… But then again, the same is true of biological parents as well.

    When I was in school - there are plenty of students who are more or less disowned by their families, who receive no financial support, but who are still in the awkward position of being independent in the eyes of the state yet a dependent in the eyes of student aid. If your parents refuse to provide you with their tax returns for FAFSA, good luck getting financial aid at all - that is, unless, you really fight for it with an aid officer and can “prove” that you’re in a situation bordering on abuse.

    Really unfortunate set of circumstances for the rules to navigate. No wonder some people are taking advantage… But then again, it’s a wonder that we’re in the business of discriminating against children based on family wealth.


  23. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    ==There just aren’t a lot of people who can afford to send their kids to college without financial aid==

    So that justifies the parents (and their children) ‘gaming’ the system to receive financial aid and scholarships they weren’t entitled to?


  24. - left toe - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    also would be interesting to know who claimed the minor as a dependent on their income tax returns


  25. - thunderspirit - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    Well, don’t my wife and I feel stupid for following the rules and using our actual income for our kids’ financial aid documents.


  26. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    Downstate it isn’t my legal loophole… :-)

    Since I am about to have 2 in school I can see to a degree why someone might look into this, as anyone who has filled out a FAFSA can testify, the money you can contribute to your kids education it comes up with is a ‘interesting number’.

    That being said, if you live in Naperville and feel the need to scam to save money on U of I you need to evaluate your life choices.

    My follow-up question would be how many of these folks do it not so much for the aid vs making their kid look ‘financialy disadvantaged’ as some way to improve admissions odds.


  27. - R A T - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    My friends family did this back in the 80’s and she would not have been able to go to college otherwise. I’m OK they did it and did not see it as a scam.


  28. - Bruce (no not him) - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    Scam? Loophole they are exploiting.


  29. - lakeside - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    I read the comments on this on a different site earlier today and literally everyone said some version of, ‘college is too hard to afford. Good for them. I’d do it.’

    Jaw open reading it. I mean, it was a national site so maybe they didn’t have the full context, but Lake Co kids taking up MAP spaces made me want to scream.


  30. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    Sorry, I didn’t finish my post. I feel for these people, but it’s a scam. Maybe they should look in to a couple of years in a more affordable community college, or a trade school.


  31. - 17% Solution - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    How is it a scam? Did anyone lie? Those are FASFA’s rules. If FASFA wanted to use the income of living parents even if they don’t live with the child they could still do that.


  32. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Seems to be an organized effort by these financial aid “consultants” and law firms. First line of defense would be the judges. If the family can’t articulate a valid reason for guardianship, say no. Second the schools need to be on alert. Not sure what they can do about it though.


  33. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Infuriating. Reminds me of a certain IL House Speaker who used to get undeserving kids admitted to U of I on behalf of wealth donors.


  34. - JT - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    I’m not sure some of the commenters here realize the variety of sources of financial aid that are available to anyone regardless of income. Affluent families can still get scholarships and loans. This scam is taking advantage of the grant programs established for low-income students.


  35. - Bemused - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    One of my nephews whose parents had neither a pot to go in or a window to throw it out of, joined the Air National Guard. He got his college finished in between deployments to such nice areas as the middle east. A second nephew whose parents run a vet clinic, has entered the R.O.T.C. program. He is at this moment finishing his 10 weeks of basic. These young men have traded service to their country for a higher education. There are several legit ways to go to college with out cheating or taping out your parents. they do require some effort.


  36. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    “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.”

    And yet some among us ask “How is it a scam?”

    – MrJM


  37. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    === just because one lives in the north suburbs doesn’t make them “wealthy” and even if their income is higher, often their cost of living is higher===

    What? If the working class or middle class worker can afford the lifestyle, the doctor and the lawyer can afford it. I don’t remember hearing that because they make more money, they are required to inflate their lifestyle. That’s like saying a billionaire is justified in pulling this scam because the billionaire lifestyle requires he buy private islands and use private jets. To give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe these people couldn’t pay full tuition out of pocket. That still doesn’t excuse them from taking MAP money from those who truly needed it.


  38. - Van Helsing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    ==Legally, her obligation to do so expired at the age of 18… But then again, the same is true of biological parents as well.==

    This is not true under college financial aid guidelines. The policy often conflicts with a parents “obligation” to save for retirement, pay other bills and take care of siblings still in K-12, and other older family members. If you have a pension and don’t need to save for retirement, this college payment “obligation” is much less of a burden. In many ways, the college “obligation” is an antiquated notion created before the rise of the 401(K) and our “do it yourself” retirement system.. A simpler solution would be to allow any student to declare themselves independent of their parents at 18 and borrow accordingly without parental assistance for college, health care, etc.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2015/03/31/do-you-earn-too-much-to-qualify-for-college-financial-aid/#1a659ea44133


  39. - Whatever - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Nothing particularly new here. I had a law school classmate back in the 80’s whose wife was an RN. They divorced so he could get aid, and then remarried right after graduation. And it’s not just students - anyone remember the mini-scandal over Senator Carol Mosely Braun’s mother qualifying for Medicaid by distributing her assets to her children, including the Senator? We need to crack down on these scammers, but doing it without harming people who really qualify but mess up the paperwork will always be a real challenge.


  40. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    “I’m not justifying the practice”

    No, I’m literally experiencing you as justifying the practice.


  41. - Van Helsing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    ==There are several legit ways to go to college with out cheating or taping out your parents. they do require some effort.==

    I agree, but the military is not for everyone. It would be nice to have the government pay for tuition for some sort of 2-3 years of national domestic public service like the Civilian Conservation Corp. Not only would this help solve a big financial problem, it also would bring diverse young adults together and help Americans better understand each other.


  42. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    Question - once they have signed over the guardianship of these juniors and seniors, who makes the medical decisions if any are needed. For example, a car accident, a pregnancy, an injury or illness? Because if it is Mom or Dad, then that should void the guardianship. Who pays the other bills for these juniors? Where do they actually sleep at night? Because if it is Mom or Dad, then that should void the guardianship.

    Now, I can understand guardianship for instances where Mom or Dad, as the only parent, is overseas or out of state in the military, etc. But when they are on the next block?


  43. - wonkavist - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    Once upon a time it was easier (relatively) to declare yourself independent and quality for federal aid on your own; then people scammed that by doing so but having college funded by their parents. Now someone thought of another way around the rules. Yes, college costs too much. No, this is not an acceptable solution. And someone should be checking into how these guardianship cases are being decided…


  44. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    If anyone thinks this is a new scam, perpetrated by just the rich, well i have news for you. But the cost and length of college helps foster this activity.

    On the good news i read the other day, some folks have been pressuring UIC to develop a good three year program.


  45. - illinikid - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    If the cost of tuition wasn’t outrageous there would not be a reason for people to cheat the system. What does a parents income have to do with the cost of my education anyway? I pay my student loans every month, not my retiree parents. The entire student loan/grant process is riddled with loopholes that make it possible to cheat. A Forbes investigation released this week found that 2 borrowers each claimed to have 93 dependents. Education reform is the only solution that make sense.


  46. - Pick a Name - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    Want to reduce the cost of attending universities? Take online general courses from a community college that satisfy requirements and take some summer school classes to make sure you graduate in 3 1/2 or no longer than 4 years.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    Merit scholarships help with this for in-state students, no matter the family income.

    Wonder why Illinois students leave Illinois when the families can “try” to cover and help students.

    Merit scholarships


  48. - Seenitall - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    The whole guardianship thing is also used to get around high school residency rules so athletes can go play for the school they want to. But qualifying for extra financial aid in college is, I’m sure, a nice bonus for those who believe rules are for the little people anyway.


  49. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    === === just because one lives in the north suburbs doesn’t make them “wealthy” and even if their income is higher, often their cost of living is higher===

    What? If the working class or middle class worker can afford the lifestyle, the doctor and the lawyer can afford it. I don’t remember hearing that because they make more money, they are required to inflate their lifestyle. That’s like saying a billionaire is justified in pulling this scam because the billionaire lifestyle requires he buy private islands and use private jets. To give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe these people couldn’t pay full tuition out of pocket. That still doesn’t excuse them from taking MAP money from those who truly needed it. ===

    Wasn’t talking about higher cost of living by living an inflated lifestyle, talking about higher cost of living because the costs of housing, goods, and services is more for the same housing, goods, and services.


  50. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    ==the costs of housing, goods, and services is more==

    Like retaining the legal services of The Rogers Law Group in Deerfield and the Kabbe Law Group in Naperville? Not to mention securing the ’services’ of Lora Georgieva at Destination College.


  51. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    == If you have a pension and don’t need to save for retirement, this college payment “obligation” is much less of a burden. ==

    Another way it can be less of a burden is to live well below your income while saving for retirement in a 457 and 401 while also paying for the kid’s first 2 years at a local community college … and all the help the kids got was a couple of $500 annual scholarships.


  52. - anon2 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    === I feel for people that aren’t poor enough to be considered low income but aren’t rich enough to do it on their own.===

    How about the doctors, lawyers, and other professionals whose kids go to Stevenson and other affluent schools? They presumably could afford it more readily than families who legitimately qualify for the aid.


  53. - anon2 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    Lots of comments expressing sympathy and providing extenuation if not justification for this gaming of the system. I wonder if these commenters have such sympathy for the poor person who exploits loopholes on food stamps?


  54. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Well, I find it comical those who told me time and again the RaunerS clouting their denied suburban-living daughter into Payton Prep was fine are flabbergasted at this.

    Caricatures are gonna caricature


  55. - Education First - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    =the costs of housing, goods, and services is more==

    Like retaining the legal services of The Rogers Law Group in Deerfield and the Kabbe Law Group in Naperville? Not to mention securing the ’services’ of Lora Georgieva at Destination College. Not to mention the judge or judges in Lake County who facilitated this cheat. It hurts everyone. Rogers should be disbarred, and Destination College should be shuttered.


  56. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    I remember my mom talking a couple decades ago about how much better off us kids would be for college financial aid if she and my dad got a divorce but they never went through with it.

    This is another level.


  57. - ugly - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    This makes me sick. College savings has been one of our biggest expenses since our kids were born. It’s worth it because it’s that important to us. I don’t know why this kind of news keeps surprising me. We (stupidly) didn’t apply for local merit scholarships, thinking we saved enough, and that these scholarships should go to needy kids that had to overcome. Then we watched as parents and kids that gamed the system (sign your kid up for every activity and looks good on college app type volunteer position and never actually fully participate in any of it) go home with all the money. so. much. money. Kids who graduated with highest honors while living in their car and working at Burger King were beat out of larger local merit scholarships by kids who on a typical Christmas break go both to Hawaii and then Jackson Hole Wyoming/Aspen/wherever to ski! I don’t know how they took these checks, attended these events without a bag over their head. But they do it. I guess we were just ignorant for not playing the game too. Infuriating. **and yes I understand merit aid is for anyone that applies - just seemed in my experience like the biggest and richest hoop jumpers got most of it - some that would openly talk about the stories they made up for their college essays. I guess this is just a particular way of raising kids that I don’t understand. Ugh. Not bitter just a rule follower and wishing others thought the same. I wouldn’t have gone to college 1 day without the generous PELL grants and Federal Work Study opportunities that existed back in the day. I get how precious these funds are.


  58. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Don’t they help themselves?…the Rich Class I mean.


  59. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Capitalism is a system designed by… owned by… and operated by… A Rich Class of people…just like you and me…except that they had/have more money.

    The underbelly is showing…badly.


  60. - Ugh - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    From the Lora Georgieva at Destination College website:

    “College Financial Plan, Using Income and Asset Shifting Strategies to Increase Your Financial and Merit Aid and Lower Out of Pocket Tuition Expenses”

    ….asset shifting strategies - didn’t even know that was something people (apparently openly) do. Saved and paid for college for my kids and apparently missed the whole game some others play. Ugh.


  61. - Van Helsing - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    It looks like this strategy is also being driven by the US tendency to equate income with wealth in all instances. This is why Elizabeth Warren is pushing a wealth tax because it better captures the ability of a person or family to pay. Most people believe that ifthey have to labor for income, rather than living off of passive income, they are not rich.


  62. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    Bemused,
    Respect for both of them, but keep in mind there are plenty of kids who can’t qualify for either due to medical reasons, like asthma, so those paths are not available to everyone.

    Ugh,
    The asset shifting thing isn’t anything new, as my dad pointed out back in the day, the equity in the house counted for the calculation but if he had fine art on the walls, the art didn’t count.


  63. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    So much for the ‘rich pay more than their fair share’ argument.


  64. - Winderweezle - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 4:17 pm:

    I’m as disgusted as anyone. Have been paying up front for college for my two kids since they were born. First kid got a decent amount of merit money at Illinois State and will have completely burned almost two decades of college savings in the four years it will take her to get a teaching degree.

    My second has a similar amount of savings but despite taking the SAT numerous times won’t get the merit money my older one did.

    The crazy thing is that people willing to cheat the system like this also end up being preferred college athletic recruits. They are cheap for the coach to recruit and the school can check a box for helping a “low income” student “succeed”.

    There is definitely a seedy underbelly of all of this. It is disgusting to see it up close.

    I’m not an economist but it seems like the housing bubble burst due to cheap money being available to fuel housing prices. It seems to me that the amount of easily available money has helped fuel the cost of higher learning. It irritates me to no end that the people who did the most responsible thing to get their kids in school seem to be the only ones paying the price.


  65. - Bemused - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    I was not trying to infer Military was for everyone. I would agree community service could be traded for education. Perhaps a federal program for people to study medicine with a commitment to work in poverty areas. But it is also possible to work your way thru school. A little time working and saving for the next semester can be done. Doing your first two years at community college. The Nephew in the Air Guard took several years more than four to get his degree.


  66. - Simple Simon - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 5:21 pm:

    Back n the 80s, I declared myself independent from my parents at 18 and eventually qualified for financial aid. There were rules about my earned income and there was a time period that I needed to remain independent beforehand, during which I worked and took loans. This was a loophole but reflected reality. My parents were not providing any material support, nor did I live with them during breaks. The subjects of the current story sound more like a scam if the parents support them at all (insurance, housing, etc.).


  67. - Old Illini - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 5:40 pm:

    This has been covered on Fox News today. One item was an Illinois family, with a $250K annual income, offloading their student.
    This constitutes abuse. I’m guessing they also cheat on taxes.


  68. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 8:32 pm:

    ….also cheat on taxes. No just play by bad rules. Just like the current governor did with his toilet bowl caper.


  69. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:36 pm:

    How is this any different than the perfectly legal (and commonly advised) practice of “Medicaid Planning” where one transfers their assets into an irrevocable trust at about age 75, and then (after the 60 month lookback period) expects Medicaid to pay for their convalescent care expenses?

    One solution to this, would be to attach a similar-length (or longer) lookback period on those who transfer guardianship of their children so they become eligible for tuition grants.


  70. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 7:59 am:

    ==Question - once they have signed over the guardianship of these juniors and seniors, who makes the medical decisions if any are needed. For example, a car accident, a pregnancy, an injury or illness?==

    The guardian. The students also can be on the guardian’s insurance.


  71. - Ugh - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    One Man-
    “Ugh,
    The asset shifting thing isn’t anything new, as my dad pointed out back in the day, the equity in the house counted for the calculation but if he had fine art on the walls, the art didn’t count.”

    Interesting about the art. I do know that I had to give a lot of information on the FAFSA about every classic car my husband had in the garage at the time, down to the mileage and value as I recall. I realized not everyone fills out the FAFSA the same when my first kid got to college and her seemingly incredibly wealthy roommate said they left her rich dad off the income on the FAFSA because he wasn’t “reliable.” Judging by the constant travel and the daily online shopping for all the trendiest designer clothes, the dad’s income seemed to work just fine for the family in other ways - just not for college bills.

    Lora Georgieva at Destination College website has a promotional video where a mom is saying how much financial aid she got when Lora filled out the FAFSA instead of the mom. The mom had been filling out the FAFSA for four previous college kids and got all this new aid with a college planner. So is there something that college planners can legally leave off the FAFSA that parents are mistakenly including, or are college planners getting aid by intentionally fudging numbers?

    Oh well, I’m glad I was honest on our FAFSA. I like to sleep at night. Clearly the system is being heavily gamed. I hope journalists keep shining the spotlight. Kudos to the ones that already have. I’ll never understand the commenters defending these parents.


  72. - Gdubya - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Wonder if the “independent kid” is still covered under the family insurance? I would think that if they are, they aren’t exactly independent.


  73. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 6:51 pm:

    ==Wonder if the “independent kid” is still covered under the family insurance? I would think that if they are, they aren’t exactly independent.==
    The independent kid would be on the guardian’s insurance.


  74. - 17% Solution - Thursday, Aug 1, 19 @ 7:14 am:

    “Well, I’m glad I was honest on our FAFSA. I like to sleep at night. Clearly the system is being heavily gamed.”

    The parents who transfer guardianship to friends played by the FASFA rules and didn’t do anything wrong. Those are the rules. I get it you don’t like the rules as they are but there is no reason why these parents shouldn’tbe able to sleep at night.


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