The Cost of Parents Who Won’t Apply for Financial Aid
It’s a heartbreaking scenario: A high school student with good grades and a strong desire to attend college can’t afford to go because a parent is too afraid to apply for financial aid.
As Adolfo Guzman-Lopez writes for KPCC, a Los Angeles student at Downtown Magnets High School is in this exact situation. The student told her college counselor that her parents are afraid signing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will interfere with their green card application. Although the student is a legal U.S. citizen, the parents are from the Philippines and “they’re afraid that if she applies for financial aid it will somehow cause a problem with their application and I tried to convince them that that was not true,” says Lynda McGee, the counselor at Downtown Magnets.
Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, says about 5 percent of seniors who want to go to college but can’t afford it without a FAFSA, find themselves stuck when their parents won’t sign the form.
In a climate increasingly hostile toward immigrants, and no clear path to a clean DACA program, it’s easy to understand the fear and apprehension many of these parents feel. But the although the U.S. Department of Education collects the information, it doesn’t pass it along to immigrations authorities.
For now, it looks like a losing battle for children whose parents refuse to provide a FAFSA for their kids. Financial aid experts say that although the system leaves some kids vulnerable, it remains the only fair way to judge who needs financial assistance.