Our neighbors who are passionate on the topic of climate change are packing up their pavement-melting SUVs to drive their “strong and independent” children to college (where mom and/or dad will unload, unpack, plug in the toaster oven, etc.), then return home to work like slaves to pay for what formerly would have been learned in high school. Let’s assume that 18-22-year-olds who’ve had $500,000 of K-12 education (at taxpayer expense) are not capable of getting themselves to college, so the parents must do the drive. Is it obvious that the parents also have to pay?
A software engineer with middle-school-age children told me that he spends every dime that he earns, immediately selling stock when it is issued to him, for example. “The way that college financial aid is structured, it doesn’t make sense to save unless you’re earning more than hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Your kids’ colleges will take any savings.”
“Can Married Students Get More Financial Aid Money?” (the nest) says
If you were considered a dependent student — your parents’ financial information was required on the financial aid application — before you tied the knot, that has changed. Married students become financially independent overnight as far as federal student aid is concerned.
as a married student, a higher amount of your assets are protected than with a non-married student. Your EFC will be based on your combined income, assets and student status.
Consider two 18-year-olds. They are starting college next month. Both come from families with $250,000-per-year in combined parental income and are therefore ineligible for a discount off the absurd “rack rates” that colleges post: they don’t have any “need” so they aren’t entitled to “need-based financial aid.” Why don’t they fly to Las Vegas this weekend, get married, tell their colleges that their situation has changed and now they want their financial aid recalculated? At Harvard, they would now be a “family earning less than $65,000” and therefore would get entirely free tuition, fees, room, and board (source).
How challenging would it be to find a mate? There does not seem to be any requirement that they attend the same college or live together. There is no requirement that they be of opposite sexes. So a male college student could marry another male and thus be assured of no liability for child support in the event that his spouse became pregnant at a fraternity event (in at least Massachusetts, children conceived during a marriage generate a 23-year child support entitlement for a plaintiff parent even if the defendant parent was not involved sexually or biologically). After college, or if one of them starts earning big $$, the happy couple takes advantage of the no-fault divorce laws (maybe spend a semester abroad in a European country where it can be done administratively without going to court; or go back to Vegas for a $199 divorce).
There are a lot of families liquidating their savings to pay for college, so I’m thinking that the above plan might not work, but I can’t figure out the flaw. (Of course, for some Americans the idea of marriage has a religious component and they wouldn’t be interested in this procedure for saving $200,000+)
[In this country with the world’s highest proportion of children who don’t live with two parents and therefore with the highest percentage of adults who are entitled by a court order to get child support cash from another adult, one complicating factor in the above plan is that a child’s marriage may result in the loss of the child support cashflow as the marriage makes the child “emancipated.” This can be an important factor in states where children can generate revenue beyond age 18.]
Readers: In our era of colleges shaking parents upside-down for cash while simultaneously offering a free ride to those with the correct paperwork profile, why don’t we see more marriages to form new zero-income “families” for financial aid calculation?