Jul 31, 2019

University of Missouri probes financial aid awards "scam" claims

University of Missouri officials told KBIA Tuesday they're scrutinizing "several dozen" student accounts after ProPublica Illinois reported that wealthy parents are forgoing legal guardianship to "scam" universities into qualifying their children for need-based financial aid.

Why it matters: Although ProPublica’s investigation focused on students in the Chicago suburbs, there is evidence that this practice is occurring nationally, University of Missouri spokesperson Christian Basi told the Columbia Missourian.

The big picture: The University of Missouri was one of several colleges identified by ProPublica in a report published Monday as giving aid to students of parents using the "loophole."

"A number of the children are high-achieving scholars, athletes and musicians who attend or have been accepted to a range of universities, from large public institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Missouri and Indiana University, to smaller private colleges."
— ProPublica report

What they're saying: Basi told the Columbia Missourian the college had yet to uncover a case, but it was analyzing data points associated with students’ personal and financial records to determine if they're eligible for aid. He told ABC 17 News if the university did uncover any cases, it would report them to the federal government.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign director of undergraduate admissions Andy Borst told ProPublica the university now asks more questions of students in such instances, which has deterred some families from continuing to seek university aid.
"It’s a scam. Wealthy families are manipulating the financial aid process to be eligible for financial aid they would not be otherwise eligible for. They are taking away opportunities from families that really need it."
— University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Andy Borst to ProPublica

Go deeper

Podcast: The next college admissions scandal

A collection of wealthy parents have figured out a new loophole to get college financial aid for their kids, and it might very well be legal. Dan digs into the latest college admissions scandal with the Wall Street Journal's Doug Belkin, who broke the story.

Go deeper: University of Missouri probes financial aid awards "scam" claims

Keep ReadingArrowJul 31, 2019

Dating apps used for college ID

Tinder as displayed on a smartphone. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Tinder and Bumble are using college students as a marketing strategy by hosting sponsored parties, recruiting college ambassadors and partnering with fraternities and sororities, the Houston Chronicle reports.

What it looks like: Students at the University of Texas create Tinder University profiles to be admitted to certain fraternity parties, regardless of relationship status. Brand ambassadors give out merchandise at popular college events and offer "safe rides" at UTA, Bumble’s chief creative marketing officer told the Chronicle.

Go deeperArrowAug 17, 2019

College Board abandons SAT adversity score after public backlash

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The College Board called off plans to issue an adversity score to students who take the SAT and instead introduced a new metric after facing disapproval from parents and teachers.

Why it matters: The score, called the “environmental context dashboard" announced in May, used 15 different factors from a student's social and economic background to create a single score for colleges to factor into their admission decisions. Some critics said the scores added to the debate whether race and socioeconomic status should be considered to determine college acceptance.

Go deeperArrowAug 27, 2019