Dozens of college students from well-to-do families could also be getting cash reserved for poorer families due to an authorized loophole: They’re giving up custody of their kids.
The tactic is authorized, however ethically questionable, mentioned Andrew Borst, the director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Chief among his issues: Financial aid money is restricted.
“Cash we give to one student is cash not going to another student,” Borst mentioned.
Here is how the scheme worked. ProPublica Illinois and The Wall Street Journal announced on Monday that families close to Chicago would give up authorized guardianship of their kids to relatives or friends. Students would then register for financial independence, which successfully opened the door to financial aid, they wouldn’t have been in a position to access while under the authorized care of their mother and father.
The University of Illinois began investigating after high school counselors from “pretty rich neighborhoods” had called to inquire about low-revenue orientation programs they have been unfamiliar with, Borst mentioned. The university dug deeper and discovered a sample of students entering into an authorized guardianship, although their mother and father had and still supported them, he mentioned.
The scheme bears similarity to tactics adopted by Rick Singer, the mastermind behind the nation’s largest college admissions scandal. In Singer’s scheme, wealthy families also used their sources to secure benefits usually dedicated to those in need.
For example, Singer would instruct rich families to have their children diagnosed with disabilities. In consequence, they got more time to take the ACT and SAT, college admissions tests, which may translate to higher scores.