I’m about to age myself here, but it’s been exactly 16 years since I graduated from high school and began taking classes at Kent State University (yes, THE Kent State University…famous for the 1970 National Guard shootings). I know, I look just a bit younger than 34, right? Not to brag, but I’ve been carded for buying a lottery ticket within the last couple years. That’s an accomplishment at my age.
There are a lot of things I don’t miss about college, like intense sleep deprivation because I worked full time and living on ramen pretty much all the time because I was broke as a joke. As annoying as those things were, they didn’t come near the irritation that was filling out the FAFSA every year. For any readers who aren’t aware (or perhaps live in a country that actually gives a shit about having educated citizens), FAFSA stands for Free Application For Federal Student Aid. It sounds nice, right? Don’t believe the name. This federal program exists with one goal: to deny students financial aid whenever possible, using any shitty excuse they can think of.
When I was in college, I didn’t have help paying for anything. Even though they weren’t helping me financially, I was required to list my parents’ assets on the application, and that meant I qualified for NOTHING. The government told me to ask my parents for money, and then my parents told me to ask the government for money. Nice, thanks for giving a shit about my education! I researched how I could be considered independent from them so I could get some help, and the options were ridiculous. The only way I could be considered independent was if I turned 25, got married, or had a kid. It didn’t matter that I lived on my own, paid my bills on my own, and worked full time. I should have just paid someone to marry me, but I couldn’t afford that either. I did get my degree, but it came with a whole shit ton of student loan debt that I’ll be stuck with for a very long time.
I was reminded of this unconscionable bullshit recently because one of my friends is in school and is apparently getting the shaft from FAFSA as well. 16 years later, they’re still denying aid to students who need it and laughing all the way to the bank with all the money they’re not using to help people. My friend’s circumstances are different, but the tactics are the same. Instead of assuming she’s getting money from her family, they’re assuming she’ll get money from her piece of shit ex-husband who ran out on her during a really rough time in her life and changed his phone number. Come on, really? 😡🤬
FAFSA shouldn’t exist and continue to be funded with my tax dollars if their primary goal is to deny aid to students rather than providing it. Our country needs more educated people to remain competitive in this world, and education should be attainable for everyone, not just those who were born with a silver spoon up their ass and a trust fund. Since I don’t have the influence to abolish or restructure FAFSA, I’m going to at least correct what it stands for.
There! Fixed it.