Another day, another scandal.
What's frustrating to me (and I tried to get it across in this article - but I think a lot of what I said was edited out) is that this is indicative of a FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM in the way that financial need is calculated without taking cost-of-living adjustments in mind. It's just ridiculous.
A family with a bunch of kids in a high cost of living area like Northern Virginia could absolutely, ABSOLUTELY struggle to pay the cost of attendance at their state university - over 31k at UVA - with a HHI of $200k. (I do not, for what it’s worth, consider anyone in our area with a 200k HHI to be wealthy. Far from it.)
But many of these people have “no financial need" on paper because the calculators do not take cost-of-living adjustments into account. SIGH!
I do realize that the kids could just attend community college. And I have no idea about whether this had anything to do with the situation in Chicago. I am not saying that it is okay to commit fraud, because it’s obviously not - at all. What these people did was wrong.
But I do know that the FAFSA calculation methodology is a real problem that's affecting so many families in our area, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why the government can't stick some kind of cost of living adjustment on there. This is NOT a hard problem to solve!
For what it’s worth, I’m not even saying that I think financial aid guidelines should be loosened, or that a Bernie Sanders type of “free college” system is what we need - I actually really don’t think that. I work my tail off and pay a fortune in taxes already.
But if we’re already giving this money away, why are we doing it inequitably? And why are the families in high cost of living areas just sitting by and letting it happen without throwing a fit?