a investigation by watchdog journalism organization has uncovered dozens of cases in which parents in the Chicago suburbs have ceded guardianship of their college-aged children to friends or relatives so that the children could receive federal or other financial aid as a independent. ProPublica Illinois has found several dozen cases of such guardianship claims in a county near Chicago, which an admissions official at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign described as a “scam … wealthy families are manipulating the financial aid process to be eligible for financial aid. they would not be eligible otherwise. They take away opportunities for families who really need them. “
ProPublica said none of the 15 parents or guardians contacted agreed to speak to their reporters about their actions, that some of the parents involved were lawyers and doctors, and that most of the cases identified appeared to be handled by two firms. lawyers.
The article also stated that ProPublica had no reason to assume the practice is limited to the Chicago area.
Federal financial aid rules treat independent students differently from those still dependent on their parents.