Some US Parents Give Up Their Children In Order to Pay for College
United States officials have uncovered a new way parents are abusing the college admissions system.
The University of Illinois found that several parents officially gave up responsibility of their children. The move enabled the children to receive financial aid to pay for a college education. But that money is meant to help truly needy students.
The case comes at a time of intense discussion about the fairness of college admissions. Earlier this year, U.S. officials found that some wealthy parents paid bribes to get their children into top universities.
Investigative reporters discovered the latest case last month. It was linked to a small group of parents who live outside Chicago, Illinois.
Those parents gave up legal guardianship of their children to friends and relatives. The children could then claim they were independent of their families and poorer than they really were.
As a result, the students were permitted to receive up to $11,000 a year in education grants from the government. They could also receive university scholarships. Those scholarships pay up to as much as the total cost of the education.
Some of the parents who took part in the scheme told reporters they were following the advice of a consulting business called Destination College. The company’s website says it helps parents pay for college in the least costly way possible. Destination College did not choose to comment on the case at the time.
The parents were caught when some guidance counselors at high schools near the University of Illinois heard what was happening. The counselors told the school’s admissions office.
University officials soon noticed that a few applications looked very similar. The forms all came from students who lived in the same areas. They all claimed the students had recently become independent from their families. And they all used a number of the same words. In total, University of Illinois officials identified about 14 of these applications over the last year.
ProPublica, a non-profit group, found that students involved in the scheme have also been accepted at other colleges. The Associated Press says the schools include the University of Missouri, the University of Wisconsin and Indiana University. All three schools said they are investigating the issue.
Andy Borst is the director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois. He says while the parents’ move appears to be legal, it is probably not right.
By using money meant for poorer students, wealthier families take away financial resources for students who truly need help. For example, the Illinois state government gives aid only to the first people who apply. The children of wealthier families who took part in the scheme received some of that aid. Thousands of other students were turned away.
Financial aid is not endless, Borst said. The government cannot give money to every student who needs it.
Mark Sklarow is head of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. He says both the guardianship scheme and the bribery case from earlier in the year show the problem of college tuition: The cost of higher education keeps going up and up.
But, he said, the parents who transferred guardianship still acted unfairly.
“Guardianship laws are designed for when parents are unable or should not be responsible for a child’s well-being,” he said. “It isn’t something that is meant to be traded away in order to beat the system.”
What will happen now?
To help make sure parents do not abuse the system again, the U.S. Department of Education is being urged to change its rules. Under one proposal, students would not be considered independent if they continue receiving medical and financial support from their parents.
In addition, the University of Illinois is adding new questions to its application. For example, students who claim they are independent are now asked who pays the cost of their cellphones.
School officials have not yet decided what to do about the families who used the guardianship scheme. They may take away the university scholarships. But for now, they must continue to give government money to students who can legally claim it.
I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
1. give up 放弃；抛弃；
Did he give up? Not a bit of it!
2. as a result 结果是；作为结果；
As a result, the bad thing has been turned into a good one.
3. a number of 一些；很多；
We have lived here quite a number of years.
4. in addition 另外；此外；
There's a postage and packing fee in addition to the repair charge.
伊利诺伊大学发现一些家长正式放弃对孩子的供养责任，这样做可以使孩子能够获得资助，以便支付大学的教育费用 。但这笔资金本应用来帮助真正贫困的学生 。
这一情况正好发生在人们对大学入学公平性展开激烈讨论之际 。今年早些时候，美国官员发现，一些有钱的家长为了让孩子能进入顶尖大学而行贿 。
结果，这些学生获批每年可从政府获得高达11000美元的教育补助金 。他们还可以获得大学奖学金，支付的奖学金金额最高可抵补教育总花销 。
一些参与该计划的家长告诉记者，他们正在听从一家名为终点学院（Destination College）咨询公司的建议 。该公司的网站上表示，可以帮助家长花最少的钱支付大学学费 。终点学院当时并未对此事发表评论 。
当伊利诺伊大学附近一些高中的指导顾问听到所发生的事情时，当场将这些家长扣留 。顾问们把情况告诉了学校的招生办公室 。
大学官员很快注意到，一些学生的申请看起来非常相似 。这些表格都来自同一地区的学生，都表示这些学生最近已经与其家庭脱离关系 。他们都使用了许多相同的词语 。在过去一年的时间里，伊利诺伊大学的官员共计确认收到大约14份这样的申请 。
Propublica是一个非营利性组织，该组织发现参与该计划的学生也被其他大学录取 。美联社说，这些学校包括密苏里大学、威斯康星大学和印第安纳大学 。三所学校都表示他们正在调查此事 。
富裕家庭的孩子使用专门拨给贫困学生的资金，抢走了那些真正需要帮助的学生的财务资源 。例如，伊利诺伊州政府只向第一批申请者提供援助 。参加该计划的富裕家庭的孩子们得到了一些援助，而成千上万的其他学生则被拒之门外 。
马克·斯科拉罗是独立教育顾问协会（Independent Educational Consultants Association）的会长 。他说，监护权计划和今年早些时候发生的贿赂案，都显示大学学费存在问题，高等教育的成本在不断上升 。
为了确保家长不再滥用这一制度，人们正在督促美国教育部更改其规定 。根据一项提议，如果学生继续接受父母的医疗和财政资助，就不会认为他们与家庭脱离关系 。
此外，伊利诺伊大学还在申请中增加了新问题 。例如，那些声称自己与家庭脱离关系的学生，现在要回答是谁支付他们的手机费用 。
学校官员还未决定如何处理滥用监护计划的家庭，他们可以取消这些学生的大学奖学金 。但就目前而言，他们必须继续向可以合法申领政府资金的学生提供助学资金 。