A number of news reports emerged on July 27 detailing a possible extended abuse of the state and federal student financial aid systems. State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) released a statement on her website expressing her dissatisfaction with these reports.
“The reports that I read in the media today regarding affluent families giving up legal guardianship of their children to relatives, and then having that student apply for financial aid on their own financial merits, shows possible widespread abuse of our student loan and financial aid system,” Bryant said. “Low interest loans and MAP grants are supposed to give lower income students a better chance at receiving a post-secondary education. The money is not there for rich families to use at the expense of low income families.”
Pro-Publica Illinois conducted an investigation and discovered 48 separate system abuse instances in Lake County throughout the previous 18 months.
Bryant promised that she will pursue any further misuse of the system and demands that legislature take more action in preventing any further incidents.
“What I would like to see is the legislature take action to protect our student loan and financial aid programs,” Bryant said. “As a member of the Higher Ed and Higher Ed Appropriations Committees, I am obligated to protect and defend Illinois’ institutions of higher education against abuses like these. What we are talking about here is parents are fraudulently giving up guardianship of their children to a relative, and then allowing that 18-year-old student to apply for financial aid using their own financial backgrounds. This kind of fraud is reprehensible on many levels, not the least of which is that it teaches a horrible lesson to impressionable young people about how to get ahead.”
Bryant believes this system abuse is affecting students with low-income the most.