Wealthy families in Illinois have found a loophole
Wealthy families in Illinois have found a loophole in the financial aid system. They are getting their
What seems like an up and coming trend in Illinois is leaving other hardworking families in disbelief.
Parents looking to skip out of paying for their teenager’s college education are transferring guardianship over to other family members, friends,
ProPublica, a newsroom that investigates for the public interest, is currently reviewing forty-eight recent guardianship cases in
one Illinois suburban area.
So far, ProPublica has discovered at least 14 cases that involve teenage students preparing for college and their parents transferring their guardianship to avoid paying a cent towards tuition.
Wall Street Journal reports one student received $20,000 of financial Aid after her mother transferred guardianship. The family makes about $250,000 a year and lives in a 1.2 million dollar house. Without the transferred guardianship her daughter would not have been qualified for financial aid.
The mother claims
The mother claims Destination College, a college planning service in Lincolnshire, advised her to transfer guardianship in order to save money.
Illinois currently has no safeguards protecting its guardianship transfer process from being manipulated or abused in order to receive financial aid.
The only requirements for a guardianship transfer are for the parent and child to consent to the transfer and to establish that it would be in the child’s best interest.
Therefore, parents with the help of their savvy lawyers, petitioned the courts, claiming “a guardianship transfer is in the child’s best interest due to educational and financial support that the parent can not provide.”
Unlike the financial aid process, the judge presiding the case does not consider the parent
Many families and school faculties are questioning if the student’s parents have a significant amount of income and resources, how are they unable to provide for their son or daughter.
uardianship for a friend’s daughter as a favor
One man, who remains anonymous took over guardianship for a friend’s daughter as a favor. She was awarded thousands of dollars of financial aid she technically was not eligible for. Approximately one month later she turned 18 and the guardianship ended.
What some people find astonishing is at no point during the guardianship did the daughter live with her dad’s friend, nor did her dad’s friend provide for her in any way, shape or form.
Wasn’t that the reason for the guardianship in the first place?
The man helping out his friend and admits to regretting ever taking over guardianship. He claims deep down he knew what he was doing was wrong.
hy a specific student was to attend orientation for students of low-income
Andrew Borst, a director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suspected something was amiss when he received a call from a high school counselor who was curious why a specific student was to attend orientation for students of low-income.
Borst reviewed the student
Institutes recognize a pattern developing. So far, the University of Illinois alone has discovered 14 other applicants who also had their guardianships transferred, all of which are students planning to enroll in college this year or soon to come.
These actions may seem harmless to those taking advantage of it. But financial aid was designed and exists to assist families that can not pay for college; families whose total family income falls below $25,000 – $50,000.
These funds are very limited and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis based on financial need to students who fill out the financial aid application.
Not everyone that applies for financial aid will receive it due to there not being enough funds for everyone that applies.
Rich parents earning six figures annually have found a simple loophole. Transfer guardianship to prevent FAFSA from looking into the families money and resources.
Wealthy families using this tactic no longer have to contribute to their offspring’s college tuition.
Borst suggests, “It’s a scam, 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.”
In Illinois last year, about 82,000 students who were eligible for a $5,000 MAP grant, did not receive it because there wasn’t enough money.
Is this illegal? Is it ethical? You decide.
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