Low-Income Students Being Impacted by New College Admissions Scandal?
The people who are most impacted by this, right? Because in the state of Illinois last year, 82,000 people who otherwise would have been eligible for the State grant didn’t get it because they ran out of money, correct? Absolutely, yes. These funds are- So who is this impacting most when these people who fall in this gray zone of actually qualifying for this are taking money from others who might need it more? Low income students who these funds are intended for. They’re the ones who suffer. Like you pointed out, this is a finite pool of money. These are limited funds and they’re often awarded on a first come, first serve basis. So, if one student who doesn’t need that money gets it, it means another student who does need the money doesn’t. So, you’re really robbing them of an opportunity. And the legal element of this is that families find an attorney who will help them walk through this process. Is it easy? Is it difficult? Well, we have family law attorney Allison Corley joining us from New York City. Because what, what is the process of actually giving up custody of a child? It’s really a matter of filling out a form, bringing it to a judge, and he puts a rubber stamp on it. So it’s easy to do if you know the loopholes there. I’m curious as we were discussing, if this is legal, okay. But it seems like there are risks involved as well. If you’re giving up guardianship of your child, it… wha… what? There has to be liability because somebody else is assuming the liability for this person I assume. Right. So, if you, if another person has guardianship of your child they can make medical, legal, educational decisions for them. So, you know, one of the things that always comes to mind with another person making medical decision is if this person has guardianship over your child and you child gets in an accident, and this person is the one that the hospital is going to call because they have letters of guardianship or an order of custody and they say, you’re going to authorize this blood transfusion for your child, and maybe that’s not something a lot of people don’t believe in, don’t want blood transfusion. So, people aren’t really thinking ahead, they’re thinking of the short term, but not longterm problems that can arise. And I think, I think the takeaway, Allison, from your perspective, I would hope, is that this is a misuse of the system to transfer
Oh, definitely! Guardianship just to get financial aid. So do you Jill, then, I think the valid question is, what is someone who is squeezed in the middle class to do when it comes to maximizing financial aid for their child trying to attend college? I think the main thing is to keep your options open. Something that really struck me about a lot of these families is that the students all seemed, at least from the news reports, to be going to state flagship institutions. And it made me wonder were they just focused on that name brand and just ya know this is my top choice, this is where my student needs to be and that’s the only choice. These students seems to be the type of people that many colleges would be really chasing after and trying to award with merit based financial aid, which isn’t based on your financial need at all. And so, it makes me wonder if these people had kept their options open. They probably could have gotten as much or more financial aid from merit scholarships that they did through gaming the system to get need-based scholarships. So I think that families just should talk to guidance counselors, using things like the Department of Education’s College Scorecard to explore schools that maybe you’ve never heard of that might be a great match for you that might be really eager to have you and be willing to offer you a lot of financial aid to to get you to go there.