Parents Are Transferring Custody of Their Kids for Financial Aid

In the cutthroat world of college admissions, there is no level to which parents aren’t willing to stoop.

ProPublica reports that a growing number of wealthy parents are now transferring custody of their kids to friends or relatives in order qualify for need-based federal, state, or university assistance.

Transferring, as in legally giving their kids away.

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.

The latest cases were discovered in affluent parts of Illinois. The U.S. Education Department is now being urged to crack down on the scam.

“Financial aid is not infinite,” said Andy Borst, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois. “There are students who are eligible for need-based aid who are not receiving their awards because the state runs out.”


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