In an ideal world, every single kid who wants to go to college would have help paying for school, be it from family members or the government or the school they plan to attend.

In reality, there are lots and lots of students who have to figure out how to make financing an education work on their own – so why do most solutions offered by loan companies, schools, and even the government base assistance on how much money your family makes as a whole?

Why are US tuition solutions focused on family income when not all families pay for their child’s college? from NoStupidQuestions

Reddit has some thoughts on the matter, so let’s see where they jumped off!

14. Talk about predatory.

When I started college I got cold called by a credit card company.

I was pre-approved and my parents got pissed because they owned a house and never could get a credit card, meanwhile all I had to do was turn 18.

The kicker was, the salesperson said they pre approve college students because they know many don’t have jobs and need to be able to pay for books.

But if students don’t have jobs to pay for books, how the hell are they supposed to pay for a credit card??

13. Life isn’t fair.

Seeing this post makes me salty. I got no financial aid because my parents “had money” and my parents wouldn’t pay for any of it.

Fair is a place they judge pigs, nothing else.

My parents aren’t rich but we’re rich enough according to the gov so I got nothing.

They didn’t have enough to help me but has too much for the gov to help me so I was on my own.

33 now and not even close to done paying off my loans.

12. That’s not always the way it works.

Same situation, my friend. And my mother has been a single mom my entire life, was a teacher, and is now retired.

She’s older, so she collects social security, and I think that’s part of it.

They think parents’ money = their offspring’s money, even when you pay all your own bills and things, even if you don’t live with them.

11. Income certainly isn’t the whole picture.

My parents made enough per the government to pay for my school.

What it didn’t consider is that my mom had her own student loans, since she had only recently graduated herself, and two more kids in HS.

I had some help in the form of scholarships for the first semester and half of the second semester and that was it.

10. He sounds nice.

Same is happening to me right now (although were not rich, but low income).

My dad even refuses to do the FAFSA and rages every time I bring it up.

He suggested he disown me so I’d have to do it myself, but that would only make colleges refuse to even look at me.

But the whole system is based on family contribution so I guess I’m screwed.

What’s worse is that covid shut down a lot of places in my town so now its really hard to get a job and I’m having trouble even saving up for safety net funds.

9. No one is getting a great deal here.

Solidarity, friend. My parents were lower middle class.

Didn’t qualify for aid but also never had any money (5 kids will do that to you).

I graduated with max debt to my name and the rest in Parent PLUS Loans which I paid off. Before consolidating my monthly payment was almost 1000 dollars.

I made it and so will you. It’s absolutely a disadvantage you’ll carry for the rest of your life (imagine investing that type of money in your 20s).

You’ll make it though.

8. I hate this story.

I literally got kicked out of college mid-semester and saddled with debt because Financial Aid fucked up and didn’t “accurately” include my dad’s income when my dad left when I was 6 and has pretty much hated me since then.

On the bright side, it became illegal to do what that college did to me two years later, but the legislation wasn’t retroactive and the college saw no reason to forgive the debt. Enter about 10 years of a pathological disgust with the American education system.

I’d like to think I’m pretty smart, but I can’t trust colleges not to be just a well-crafted scam that I would take no pride in participating in and would constantly be in fear of getting saddled with life-changing debt with nothing to show for it.

7. That’s just ridiculous.

My parents wouldn’t even give me their tax information to apply for Fafsa. I was over the age of 18, but my advisor suggested legal emancipation so that I could file for aid without their information. Apparently thats not legal in the state I live in. So I’d have to wait until I was 26 when the requirement of their information dropped off.

Paid off an associates degree completely out of pocket with no assistance (couldn’t even apply), only to find now, I struggle to get any amount of assistance because technically I “already went to school”. Basically left paying for an associates and now a bachelors primarily out of pocket because my parents just didn’t want me to progress further than they did.

6. There should be…

Is there not some process you can go through to prove you are of “independent means” (i.e. not supported by your family in any way)?

Technically but it’s a bit hard to prove. I have a friend who was technically homeless in her early 20s (squatting in an empty building) but the authorities wanted some documentation proving a period of homelessness. She never stayed at a shelter or anything so she just had to wait until she was 26 to go to college without her parents’ info.

5. There’s definitely an argument to be made.

I got no financial aid even though my parents were dirt poor, because they didn’t do their taxes. Then I sold my soul to the government to pay for college. I think this is by design, actually.

I’m not trying to gatekeep this, I’m just saying it’s bad for pretty much everyone.

4. The same but different.

How is a society supposed to determine whether a rich white family is gaming the system attempting to get a free education vs a rich white family that is stingy as fuck? Both are rich. Both have kids. Both won’t pay.

The whole debate is dumb though. The reason college is stupid expense is largely because of broken rules and big finance. If a college degree is “required”, then the cost being 10k or 40k or 100k doesn’t matter. In economics this is called inelastic demand. Same for medical care, if your dying you’ll pay anything. So then if the government will issue the loan regardless of payoff chance, then there is lender willing to lend and a borrow willing to borrow. Transaction happens.

States have been cutting funding to college for decades as well because it allows them to cut taxes or not have to raise them.

The ultimate goal of capitalism is for everyone to spend every hour of their life paying for the other hours of their life. Do you think corporations gave us 40hr work weeks, weekends by choice. No. We fucking forced them by voting for people passing laws.

Government is to blame and government is the solution. Elect clowns get a circus.

3. There’s no good solution.

Same. “Expected family contribution” my fucking ass.

I got married midway though (bad idea in retrospect) which severs you from your parents’ income and then got all the grants and subsidized loans.

2. Yay, America?

I don’t know the answer but I’ve heard many stories about how people were kicked out at 18 or whose parents refused to pay and FAFSA still wanted their parents’ information.

I’ve also heard of people’s finances changing drastically to the point where the information they gave was not relevant to their current situation and FAFSA still just shrugged.

I don’t understand but it’s American so it’s designed to knock you on your a$$.

1. In a nutshell.

My situation was the same! At 18 I couldn’t get financial aid because my parents had made too much the year before. Even though I paid for all my schooling out of my pockets, and a bit with some money my grandfather left me when he passed in 2003-ish. And to add insult to injury, this was in 2009, and my father (the main bread winner) lost his job as a direct result of the recession so even if they wanted to support me financially through college (which they did, they were heartbroken that they couldn’t) they wouldn’t be able to, but due to the fact that FAFSA takes financial information from the year prior (when my father was still working), I was ineligible.

Now, almost 12 years later, it took me 9 years to get my BA (7 out of my pockets at a CC, and 2 on scholarship at a private institution) and I was fortunate to be accepted into (and graduate from) an MA program that left me in very minimal debt (roughly $10k in student loans). Now I’m working in higher Ed as an instructor — I make sure to have minimal textbook costs (most of my classes use free textbooks, but it’s really difficult to find free online material that both efficiently explain what I need it to explain and is ADA compliant, which is frustrating) and I try to go beyond teaching students material and teach them how to pass their classes so that they can hopefully move through as quickly as possible.

I teach public speaking mostly, so the vast majority of my class is teaching students how to research, write, present their research, and make a deadline…basically college in a nutshell.

I definitely think there’s some validity to this point, don’t you?

Tell us why or why not down in the comments!