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Financial Aid: The federal government will pay you to abandon your family

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Financial Aid: The federal government will pay you to abandon your family

As some of you may know, I am beginning my MBA at the University of Wisconsin (yay Badges!). To help fund my education, I am taking out some student loans. While filling out a form to request additional funds, I became very perplexed (and I little annoyed) by the fact that my family is not taken into account.

Giving up on being responsibleAccording to Federal guidelines, student aid money can only be for me and no one else in my family. However, the form I was filling out asked about specific monthly financial expenditures such as groceries, insurance, etc. But again, only as it relates to what I spend. The last line of the form, though, asks about child care.

Hoping to include my children on this line (they consume more resources than I do), I enquired about what was included in “child care.” Apparently, the only thing I can include is child care payments that I have to make according to a court order.

In other words, the Federal government is willing to give me enough financial aid to cover my child care payments but will not give me any assistance in providing for my children in the home.

So I can run around and have children out of wedlock, be irresponsible and an absentee father and the government will give me aid. But, if I am a responsible father who lives with and supports my children and is married to their mother, then the government says, “The best of luck to you!”

What has happened in this nation?!

When did we decide that irresponsibility is to be rewarded and responsibility is to be met with no more than a slap across the face?

Further, I don’t understand the bias against individuals with families coming back to school. Without financial aid, it’s very difficult for many to return to or go in the first place to school to obtain a better education. Without it, there are only a few options:

  • Save for years: Paying for school out of savings is obviously great because you avoid debt. Though, it can take so long to save that it just never happens.
  • Spouse works and kids go to day care: The challenge with day care is that my wife will pay to take three kids to day care so that she can go to work so that she can pay to take kids to day care. It just doesn’t make financial sense.
  • Loans from family: This may be a possibility for those who have families with such financial means. But it can create some stress within the family.

Or you can take our approach – I’m working as a freelancer on the side to cover the extra financial needs.

I’ve vented about this problem before (read My resignation from financial responsibility). So many organizations, from the government to schools, reward those that misbehave and punish those that follow the rules.

Example: My wife and I prepared to buy a home and made sure that we could afford it. Yet, our neighbors got in over there heads and now we are in a housing crisis that has driven our home value underwater.

We’ve decided to just get a divorce so I can pay child care

Seems like the most logical thing to do. We’ll just get a divorce, live together for two years, make sure that I have really high child care payments and then get married again after I graduate.

That sounds like a good idea, right? Apparently the government thinks so.

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