Monday, February 6, 2012

They're TRYING to kill us

We live in a contradictory country that's bent on punishing the poor.

Sure, I'm a broke college student who's resorted to somewhat desperate measures (like stealing toilet paper from the gym. There aren't cameras in there, you know.), so maybe I'm a tad jaded, but STILL. I have an opinion. You can't discredit me because I'm broke. For christ's sake, I should be the one you're listening most carefully to.

I'm sitting here trying to submit my FAFSA and I can just feel the government peering down through narrow spectacles, "you're a scammer". No seriously!! I'm poor as dirt, promise. Cross my heart. Pinky swear. Want my firstborn?

First of all, I'm classified as a dependent. I'm NOT a dependent. But because I wasn't born before 1989, orphaned as a child, part of the military, or homeless, I'm a dependent. So bam, I've got to report my parents' income. Whoop-de-doo.

Secondly, okay fine, I'll file as mom's dependent. Cool. Problem is, mom made significantly less in 2011 than in 2010. Thanks budget-cuts that laid off a bazillion teachers. Thanks. When I report her adjusted gross income, FAFSA says "There's a problem! Your mom's technically broke too!" No shit, sherlock. So now I have to report my dad's income. Well, dad makes bank, but this college kid doesn't see it, sooo....lovely. FAFSA's gonna see a fat income that means nothing to me. I can just see my Pell and CA Grants swirling down the drain. They're waving.

It's a system that's not designed to recognize the complexities of socio-economic circumstances. You know, not everyone fits into a nice little box. I'm terrified my dad's income is going to nullify any possibility of getting a single scholarship. I'd be sunk. Officially. Gonna start holding my cardboard sign on the corner...."help a college student BE a college student!!"

Stupid system.

5 comments:

Mary: said...

Praying.

labelleame said...

you can file for special circumstances i think i thats what we did when my mom got laid off, just talk with the financial aid people at your school.

Rouge said...

Praying for you, Risa! All things work together for good...even FAFSAs... <3

Anonymous said...

Seriously? You want other people to work, to pay taxes so you can study for free? How about asking your professor to teach you in exchange for less money? How about following class in a shack instead of on a beautiful campus?
For Christ's sake? Really? You are living in the greatest country ever... and it is in the process of corrupting young people's minds with socialist policies... Open your eyes!

Risa said...

I agree, we do live in an amazing country with a multitude of opportunities. However, I don't think it's right to deny students a higher education simply based on their low economic status. What would you suggest for financially disadvantaged students?