If there’s one thing more frustrating than trying to get into the right college, it might be paying for the degree. That’s what thousands of parents discover daily while discussing how to foot the bill.
In online communities like Facebook and Reddit, some parents share standard suggestions like saving more money or choosing a less-expensive state school.
Others are proposing more drastic measures.
For example, if a student gets married, they’re legally considered independent from their parents and may be eligible for more aid. So why not marry the kids off?
Some parents suggest moving money around – perhaps, for instance, moving savings out of a student's name and to a sibling's account.
Some parents lay out divorce as an option. That way only one parent’s income is considered in the government's calculation of the family's eligibility for scholarships and loans. Debbie Schwartz, the founder of the Facebook group "Paying for College 101" said she has often seen parents jokingly suggest a legal separation.
“‘I'm happily married, but if my husband and I actually got divorced, I’d be in a better situation.’ They’re kind of saying it like that,” Schwartz said.
But some parents aren't laughing; they're taking notes.
College has never been more expensive, and students are graduating with more debt than ever. This leads some to extreme measures to reduce costs, as was the case in Illinois. An investigation by ProPublica Illinois and the Wall Street Journal in July found some families were giving up legal custody of their children, thereby making them eligible for financial aid that would be normally reserved for needy families. The University of Illinois referred the cases to the U.S. Department of Education and rescinded the scholarship money it had provided to the students.