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Parents pressuring me to lie on FAFSA Forms

crusingschoolcrusingschool Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
I just started working on CommonApp forms and, of course, I needed my parents help on some of the fields. When I went to talk to them about some of my questions, they refused to answer and told me not to fill anything out because my college counselor would just do it. Obviously, I wasn't OK with this but when I tried to argue, they told me I couldn't do it because they were applying as separated for FAFSA. I was definitely NOT on board with this but they refuse to listen to anything I'm saying. Actually, they've been telling me if I don't listen, I'll just have to go to community college which is just them trying to scare me, I know, after all they money they've spent on AP tests and SATs and everything.

I don't know what to do :( Help?

Replies to: Parents pressuring me to lie on FAFSA Forms

  • Pennylane2011Pennylane2011 Registered User Posts: 2,716 Senior Member
    Wow- this is a dilemma. The short answer is - do not lie on any portion of your college application.

    Now for the long version. This has legal and ethical implications.

    First the legal. Although you are legally a minor, and dependent on your parents, this application is yours. They can help provide some information for it, but the one signing it is you. When you sign it, you sign a statement that what is on it is true to the best of your knowledge. If you knowingly sign a false statement, your admission to a university can be revoked, and maybe even your degree. If you lie on the FAFSA, then any information you put on it will be verified by comparing it to your parents' tax forms, and they should match. Any discrepancies will be noticed.

    Then the ethical. You know it is wrong and that you are responsible for your choices. I think in general, people expect children to do what their parents ask them to do, but your parents are asking you to do something unethical. Would you rob a bank if they told you to? I don't think so. This is lying and in a sense, robbing funds from somewhere. Your parents have put you in a bind- our way or we don't pay- basically, they are asking you to lie for money.

    It's unfortunate that they are doing this to you, but going along with this could result in trouble for you and it's wrong. I don't know if they will follow through on their threat or not, but even if they did, it would be better to go to a CC honestly than a college on false pretense. Don't do it, and tell them the repercussions could be serious.
  • MidwestSalmonMidwestSalmon Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    Who are they referring to when they say your "college counselor"? Do they mean the counselor at the high school? I am not sure their expectations are realistic. Can they schedule an appt with the high school counselor to discuss the details of the application process?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,716 Forum Champion
    The college counselor issue is a sep issue. The bigger issue is the FAFSA app. The parents have figured out that if they apply as separated, then the lower income parent (probably mom) will be listed as the CP and the student may qualify for Pell.

    Maybe @kelsmom can weigh in here as to how these fraudulent claims are "caught."

    However, is the student applying to any CSS Profile schools that use NCP info? If so, then that may be how things may get exposed.

    (Because people do do this on FAFSA, "being separated" should not be a reason to not use both parents' info. A couple should have to be formally divorced.)
  • guineagirl96guineagirl96 Forum Champion Math/Computer Science, Forum Champion Richmond Posts: 3,855 Forum Champion
    edited August 2014
    Actually, lying on the FAFSA and getting aid through this is criminal fraud and can be prosecuted in court. You need to get help from your guidance counselor at school right away. BTW your guidance counselor doesn't fill anything out on your side of the application. They can't even access it. All the can do is upload recs, transcripts, secondary school report.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,597 Senior Member
    If you have high stats, apply to an automatic full ride merit scholarship school so that you won't need parental money (which they probably don't have) or FAFSA cooperation (which they intend to lie on).
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,455 Senior Member
    Gaining financial aid using false information is considered fraud. You would lose not only the aid (and have to repay any disbursed to you), but could also face a fine. In addition to losing the aid, you would likely lose your admission to the college.

    Colleges frown on dishonesty.

    It won't be hard for the college to question what your parents are doing.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,498 Senior Member
    How parents fill out the FAFSA is often not something a student even sees. You fill out your portion, they fill ou theirs. You can make an appt with your counselor as your parents so desire, to get that person's input on the part of the Common App, have your parents come with you and let the counselor explain the implications and possible consequences of false statements on the FAFSA. It's a federal crime Coming from a school authority, it may resound a bit deeper. But in most all cases that I know, including my personal situation, students have no idea what parents report on their part of the FAFSA. In some cases, it's a condition that a parent imposes on the kid--can't look at the private financial info--if student does not swear s/he won't or if parent finds out the student got the info (which a student can do), the info flow and financial support ends. This is not an unusual situation.

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,455 Senior Member
    Unfortunately the student needs to sign this FAFSA with his PIN...which clearly states that all information is accurate. As Cpte says...often students are not privy to what their parents put on the FAFSA. It's a complicated situation.

    BUT it really does not matter. If the information is fraudulent, then the student is the one who will suffer at the end of the day. The student will lose aid, and likely their admission to the college.

    Sorry, but that is a huge price to pay for lying.

    Plus...the FAFSA really is only used for determination of need based aid. If the FAFSA EFC is $0, the student would get $5700 or so in Pell grant aid, and a $5500 Direct Loan. Beware that having a $0 EFC often triggers verification. The school can request documentation to support the financials reported on the FAFSA form.

    This is a very slippery slope for this family to take.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    This is a bit confusing because you are talking about separate forms which are not the same thing

    The Common Application is just something you fill out yourself. Your GC just uploads transcripts as noted above. You fill out and sign this and you should refuse to lie on it. It will not ask about money. It does ask about your parents, so I suppose it asks about marital status, I haven't seen one in awhile so I don't remember.

    The FAFSA form will ask about married parents or custodial parent financials . If parents live together and file taxes there is no point to lying about being separated. It will be caught and you will lose aid, face prosecution, likely be dismissed from school.

    In addition to FAFSA, quite a few schools, privates especially need a form with additional info, like the CSS Profile, or some forms on the noncustodial parent and their separate address and tax filing info.

    Unfortunately you have to take a stand on this and say that CC is preferable to crime/fraud. I would insist on a family discussion about it. You can listen to why they think this is a good idea, I suppose, then you can tell them why it isn't and refuse to participate in fraud. You will have to call the bluff on the CC. Tell them you prefer to work as a family to find an affordable school. You can start a new thread to ask about schools.
  • FCCDADFCCDAD Registered User Posts: 984 Member
    Just out of curiosity -- is there any possibility that your parents are actually separating, but are not willing to discuss that with you yet?
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    ^^interesting point. You can tell them you will fill it out how they want as soon as one moves out.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,597 Senior Member
    http://automaticfulltuition.yolasite.com/ is the list of automatic full tuition to full ride merit scholarships. Pick an automatic full ride that you qualify for from this list as your backup so that you will not have to participate in FAFSA fraud to attend college.

    Note that the CC option would only work for two years. Then you would have the same FAFSA fraud issue when you transfer to a four year school.
  • mittentiggermittentigger Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    The Common App does ask for parent info- it asks what they do for a living , where they went to college, where they work....

    There is a good chance the FAFSA will get selected for verification if they file as "separated" on the FAFSA. Most schools will require proof of separate residences ( my school asks for mortage/lease statements and utility bills in each parents name).

    I have seen this done many times. Schools are keenly aware of it as well, especially those giving out institutional funds.

    And kids can easily see what their parents filled out on the FAFSA. They will get a copy of the Student Aid Report which lists all data from the FAFSA. Parent data is not hidden.

    OP please stick to what you know is right, and legal. Be honest on all applications, for admission and financial aid. I really hope you have the stats for some of the big scholarships as you may need it. AT the end of the day you won't regret being honest. If you go along with this crime, you will worry all the way through school that you will find out. They will have to lie on the FAFSA for at least four years. Not the way you want to start school...
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