I sat down tonight to fill out my 18 year old’s FAFSA application. For those of you who don’t know what FAFSA is, here you go…
Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Like anything else that comes from the government, there is paperwork involved. Lots of paperwork. It’s similar to doing a 1040 long form. Lots of hair pulling, cursing and a bit of crying.
I know what you are thinking, “The boy is 18. Have him fill out the application.” I thought about it and then quickly decided against that idea. For one thing, it requires LOTS of information on income(not his, by the way). What might look like more money than he has seen in his whole life, He Who Has No Motivation to Get a Job doesn’t realize that 90% of that $number$ goes to the roof over his head, food, activities, food, clothing, food…you get my point. Another, the boy has trouble filling out a job application. One wrong answer on this bad boy is like forgetting a zero on the income line of your tax return.
As I’m slaving over the pages of this document, my mind wanders to an article I read on Huffpost yesterday. It stated that getting a job prior to attending college may hurt your chances of getting financial aid. Seriously? So, in order to get, say, a student loan or a grant, a teenager may harm their chances by actually working to save money for college?!?!? This is NOT the article I want my 18 year old reading. I’m a big believer in the school of “things are appreciated/valued more when you pay for it yourself”. I don’t mind helping the kiddo out, but I do think that said child, er adult child, should take some responsibility in his newfound adulthood. Hell, when I was a kid it was never expected that the parents foot the whole bill for college. I was fortunate enough that they helped me out, but then I had a job from the time I was 15 through college. Every summer, I would find a job in some dismal factory that paid a whopping $7.50/hour to cover most of my expenses the following term AND I had a job all through the school year. You know what, I DID appreciate it more when I had to pay at least some of it. I don’t think kids these days(god, I sound old) get it. Come May 20th, I hope to God my oldest starts to get it.
So, filling out the FAFSA. Basically, it asks for income of both parents(or a parent and stepparent), any income earned by Jr., which schools you might like to attend, blah, blah blah.
If I were in charge of revamping the form, here is a simplified list of the things I would want to know in order to grant someone government funds/loans etc.
1. Contact information-self explanatory
2. Do you intend to a)actually study and graduate from college and contribute positively to society, or b)are you going to to school in order to escape the parents and binge drink/sleep through classes/chase girls/guys?
if answer A, we approve a loan in the amount that your parents are willing to co-sign with you. If you fail to pay it back, we will have no choice but to make you work at the DMV until said loan is paid in full. We feel this is a fair and equitable trade.
if answer B, sorry we cannot at this time extend a loan to you, but we will hire you at the DMV for the rest of your natural life.
So much less paperwork. Cut to the chase, I say! Will keep you posted on when He Who Has no Motivation to Get a Job, gets a job! And here’s hoping he also gets a scholarship or loan or at least the amount of money that I would have earned had I filled this out on the job.