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October 29, 2011


when is enough enough?

by Andrea O'Connell

Mark Wilson/Getty Images - - Sheets of $100 bills wait to be cut into singles at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In recent decades, the gap between rich and poor has widened in the United States.


I believe the gap between the very rich one percent, and the rest of us, has everything to do with human rights, freedom and equality.

The access to education is also a huge social issue.   The rich one percent ALWAYS send their kids to college.  That’s never an issue.  Some of them, however, may seek Federal financial aid to pay the bill.

The reason I am bringing this up is due to a change in how much income a person can now include on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Those interested in attending college are classified into two groups: dependent or independent students.  The financial aid they are eligible to receive is based on a federal methodology that measures how much money a student, or a family (for a dependent student) can contribute to their education.

The Department of Education does a needs analysis that is based on the amount of income, or assets reported; the size of the family unit, the number of children in college, and how much an education will cost at the school the student is attending.  These are the factors that determine the amount of aid a student needs to fund their education.

Because the student who files the FAFSA is applying for financial aid – money from the Federal Government, the amount of money the student is awarded is determined by the what the student has reported on the FAFSA application.

Wouldn’t you think that a person who has at least $999,999.00 of either income or assets per year, could pay for college?  I’d think so, too.

Of course, persons earning that much money have every right to fill out the FAFSA.  However, the reality for them, usually, is they will not receive much federal aid – unless the student can document why s/he has need. Federal Financial Aid is provided to the students who are the neediest.

Some students don’t receive any aid because they do not have “need” as defined by the federal government.  However, certain types of merit-based scholarships, or school based aid, could be available.  And that’s absolutely okay and legal – there is nothing wrong there.

What I have a problem with is now the FAFSA allows for the applicant to fill in an amount up to $9,999,999.00.

There is just something that bugs me about that.

And it bugs me that the FAFSA has made allowances for those students and families who are homeless and/or on food stamps.  The fact that the FAFSA has to acknowledge homelessness and food stamps is a good thing, obviously, but it really saddens me because it also implies, to me, that society has accepted homelessness and hunger as a fact of life in America.

This is just more evidence that the American Dream is mostly a faded dream.

Why the Haves Have So Much  by Scott Horsley for National Public Radio (NPR).

This is a good read about the gaps between the haves and have-nots.  Click on the link or the money graphic at the top of the page to open the story.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Oct 31 2011

    Andrea, Interesting subject especially when my youngest is currently in his 4th year of school at a major university. I take great exception in the info I have to divulge in these applications. It is my son’s education and his responsibility to be held accountable not mine. In his continued growth as a responsible young man I required him to seek out work and or loans for a portion of his tuition and books. I maybe different in that I was taught everything in life has a cost and am trying to teach my children how to afford the price. This is one of the last parenting tools I can give.

    Happy Halloween…..


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