Financial Aid Scams

  1. Just wondering if you guys have seen anything like this at your school ... I find it infuriating.

    Since I'm married and my husband makes decent money, I can't qualify for finanical aid. Like a lot of people, I'm having to go into debt for school. However, I overheard some girls bragging about how they're not going to get married until after they finish school, so they can qualify for financial aid.

    These girls aren't hurting. They wear nice clothes, and always have plenty of money, thanks to their live-in boyfriends. And, on top of that, they get up to $5,000 a year in financial aid checks when the tuition itself only costs only about $600. I know they have to pay for books and other stuff, but these girls were bragging about how much money they make on financial aid.

    If they have kids, they also put them on Medi-Cal for free health insurance. And, once they get to nursing school, they make sure they take extra courses so they can keep the finanical aid gravy train rolling. You have to take 12 credit hours to qualify for financial aide and, since nursing school is only 9-10 hours each semester, they take other, easy courses like PE ... so they can stay on the public dole.

    And, on top of everything else, these people get priority registration, while everybody else has to fight to get into overcrowded classes.

    All of this would be ok if these people were actually poor, but they're not. I can't help but wonder how many scammers are out there. I checked the stats for my school and nearly 50 percent of the students get checks averaging $3,500 a year. Meanwhile, married students who don't qualify struggle to make ends meet.

    It really makes you wonder about the system.

    :angryfire
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 13, '05
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    About Sheri257

    Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 4,389; Likes: 153
    RN

    22 Comments

  3. by   jerryh55
    I can truely relate to your frustration. I made to much money the last year I worked before being laid off after 17 years. Went through the unemployment process like a good little boy. Was told we wont be able to findd you suitable work around here, because you made to much money. So I decided to change eilds and get into nursing. Stareted doing my pre-reqs. Fortunately as a Viet Nam vet I was able to use the Hazlewood Act to pay tuition and fees. But once I got into the nursing program, I found lots of other things that didnt fall under those categories. Nursing nickles and dimes you to death. And we have quite a few single mothers who milk the system. A good number still live at home, but show they have to pay rent and utilities when they dont.One lady gets a paycheck from a friend of her parents who says she works for him even thought she doesnt. Come to find out her parents give him the money back. And the ones with live in B/F who pay for rent, utilities, food and everything else, but doesnt show up on any sort of documentation for financial aide. One lady lives in her grandmothers old house, and shows she rents the little place out back to a single man. Even though its her live in B/F.
    Now to insure I dont totally get flamed over this, the other side are those single moms who work one, and sometimes 2 jobs to provide for their family and support their nursing school costs. They bust there butt t provide while enduring the stress that comes with type of schooling. I take my hat off to these ladies and give them all the respect they truely deserve. In talking with these ladies, I get the same reply. When the day comes and they get that piece of paper saying RN on it, that all the hard work and sacrifice was well worth it. to these ladies I humbly say Way To Go.

    Be Safe

    Jerry
  4. by   Sheri257
    Quote from jerryh55
    And we have quite a few single mothers who milk the system. A good number still live at home, but show they have to pay rent and utilities when they dont.One lady gets a paycheck from a friend of her parents who says she works for him even thought she doesnt. Come to find out her parents give him the money back. And the ones with live in B/F who pay for rent, utilities, food and everything else, but doesnt show up on any sort of documentation for financial aide. One lady lives in her grandmothers old house, and shows she rents the little place out back to a single man. Even though its her live in B/F.
    Yeah. I know another woman who works off the books, is paid in cash, so nothing shows up on her tax return and she can qualify for the financial aide.

    I agree there are people who truly deserve it. But there also seems to be a lot of scammers.

    I don't mind paying for school myself. But, as a taxpayer, I do mind subsidizing education for people who are scamming the system.

    :angryfire
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 13, '05
  5. by   crb613
    Quote from lizz
    Yeah. I know another woman who works off the books, is paid in cash, so nothing shows up on her tax return and she can qualify for the financial aide.

    I agree there are people who truly deserve it. But there also seems to be a lot of scammers.

    I don't mind paying for school myself. But, as a taxpayer, I do mind subsidizing education for people who are scamming the system.

    :angryfire
    I know what you mean I don't "qualify" for any type of aid either. I have worked all my life & am paying for my education from my savings. I am thankful that I can but, I agree the system is totaly messed up when it pays for classes that do not pertain to a degree as long as you are a full time student.For those that truly need it & are trying to better their lives I am all for them. I can really get fired up over this and think it should be monitored alot closer.
  6. by   Sheri257
    Quote from crb613
    I agree the system is totaly messed up when it pays for classes that do not pertain to a degree as long as you are a full time student.
    Yep. At the very least, they should disqualify those classes that don't apply to the degree. That would eliminate a lot of scamming right there.

  7. by   LeesieBug
    Maybe all these braggers are just dumb and wracking up a lot ot student loan debt, considering it "financial aid". I know several that are real happy about how much they get back after paying tuition, but most of the money they get back is from loans. I have a sister in law who likes to work the system, but is a moron in that she doesn't seem to comprehend that she has been in school for years, now has close to 30,ooo in student loan debt for an associates degree :stone.

    I believe Pell has a maximun amount of like 3900 a year, and you generally don't get much over your tuition, if anything in the pell department. Maybe my school is more tight in doling out the funds, though..who knows ( or I am just not quick enough to catch on to all these fabulous money making schemes )




    P.S. Or, maybe it's just that, as i am in Ohio, they are a lot more strict with the freebies.
    Last edit by LeesieBug on Feb 13, '05
  8. by   LilPeanut
    I would agree, likely their "financial aid" is the same student loan that you have, but because they're young, it seems like free money to them.
  9. by   Sheri257
    Quote from LeesieBug
    Maybe all these braggers are just dumb and wracking up a lot ot student loan debt, considering it "finalncial aid".
    Nope. As I previously mentioned, I checked my school's stats with the federal Department of Education.

    Nearly 50 percent of the students get $3,500 on average in direct financial aid.

    Only five percent get loans of approximately $2,700.

    It's definitely the public dole for many students at my school. And they definitely don't have to pay that money back.

    :angryfire
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 13, '05
  10. by   youknowho
    Quote from lizz
    Just wondering if you guys have seen anything like this at your school ... I find it infuriating.

    Since I'm married and my husband makes decent money, I can't qualify for finanical aid. Like a lot of people, I'm having to go into debt for school. However, I overheard some girls bragging about how they're not going to get married until after they finish school, so they can qualify for financial aid.

    These girls aren't hurting. They wear nice clothes, and always have plenty of money, thanks to their live-in boyfriends. And, on top of that, they get up to $5,000 a year in financial aid checks when the tuition itself only costs only about $600. I know they have to pay for books and other stuff, but these girls were bragging about how much money they make on financial aid.

    If they have kids, they also put them on Medi-Cal for free health insurance. And, once they get to nursing school, they make sure they take extra courses so they can keep the finanical aid gravy train rolling. You have to take 12 credit hours to qualify for financial aide and, since nursing school is only 9-10 hours each semester, they take other, easy courses like PE ... so they can stay on the public dole.

    And, on top of everything else, these people get priority registration, while everybody else has to fight to get into overcrowded classes.

    All of this would be ok if these people were actually poor, but they're not. I can't help but wonder how many scammers are out there. I checked the stats for my school and nearly 50 percent of the students get checks averaging $3,500 a year. Meanwhile, married students who don't qualify struggle to make ends meet.

    It really makes you wonder about the system.

    :angryfire
    Hmm you sounds like me..married, kids, going to school and not eligible for financial aid. I admit I get jealous sometimes when people around me are getting everything for free or close to it but I try not to let it get to me too much. There will always be people scamming every which "system" they can. I used to work in social services where people apply for welfare in our county and I know I saw people I knew getting food stamps and welfare when they were also getting money from a boyfriend, mom and dad etc. They will get theirs in the end if they are unthruthful and if not I believe they will answer someday to HIM.
    The priority registration REALLY ticks me off. I think my school is looking at changing it becasue there are too many peopl getting it. I dont care if someone is dirt poor or filthy rich, we should all have to get whatever date is really ours. Give priority to graduating seniors if they must but giving priority to disabled, financial aid, freshman, athletes, employees, and the list goes on. I mean what is the point of that??
  11. by   NurseFirst
    I have just finished reading this thread. Since you mention Medi-Cal, you are in California. You may find yourself biting your tongue when you find out how much free medical care is provided to illegal aliens. How people scam the financial aid system can't hold a candle to that. There is a good chance that you will have to deal with illegal aliens who are getting free medical care ("legally") or people who are scamming Medi-Cal ("illegally"). I've taken care of at least one illegal alien, and while it irks me some that illegal aliens are getting free medical care (in this case, granted, for an "emergency" operation -- lap chole)--all I could see was this guy in his 40s who was in excruciating pain, and all I wanted to do was to do something to help. (I did; I lobbied his doc to change his MS to dilaudid and he started experiencing substantial relief.)

    One of my instructors pointed out that a huge percentage of chronic diseases are due to lifestyle choices, and therefore preventable. This is the population of people we will mostly be dealing with. How do you feel about that?

    NurseFirst

    Quote from lizz
    Just wondering if you guys have seen anything like this at your school ... I find it infuriating.

    Since I'm married and my husband makes decent money, I can't qualify for finanical aid. Like a lot of people, I'm having to go into debt for school. However, I overheard some girls bragging about how they're not going to get married until after they finish school, so they can qualify for financial aid.

    These girls aren't hurting. They wear nice clothes, and always have plenty of money, thanks to their live-in boyfriends. And, on top of that, they get up to $5,000 a year in financial aid checks when the tuition itself only costs only about $600. I know they have to pay for books and other stuff, but these girls were bragging about how much money they make on financial aid.

    If they have kids, they also put them on Medi-Cal for free health insurance. And, once they get to nursing school, they make sure they take extra courses so they can keep the finanical aid gravy train rolling. You have to take 12 credit hours to qualify for financial aide and, since nursing school is only 9-10 hours each semester, they take other, easy courses like PE ... so they can stay on the public dole.

    And, on top of everything else, these people get priority registration, while everybody else has to fight to get into overcrowded classes.

    All of this would be ok if these people were actually poor, but they're not. I can't help but wonder how many scammers are out there. I checked the stats for my school and nearly 50 percent of the students get checks averaging $3,500 a year. Meanwhile, married students who don't qualify struggle to make ends meet.

    It really makes you wonder about the system.

    :angryfire
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from NurseFirst
    I have just finished reading this thread. Since you mention Medi-Cal, you are in California. You may find yourself biting your tongue when you find out how much free medical care is provided to illegal aliens. How people scam the financial aid system can't hold a candle to that. There is a good chance that you will have to deal with illegal aliens who are getting free medical care ("legally") or people who are scamming Medi-Cal ("illegally"). I've taken care of at least one illegal alien, and while it irks me some that illegal aliens are getting free medical care (in this case, granted, for an "emergency" operation -- lap chole)--all I could see was this guy in his 40s who was in excruciating pain, and all I wanted to do was to do something to help. (I did; I lobbied his doc to change his MS to dilaudid and he started experiencing substantial relief.)

    One of my instructors pointed out that a huge percentage of chronic diseases are due to lifestyle choices, and therefore preventable. This is the population of people we will mostly be dealing with. How do you feel about that?

    NurseFirst
    Yes, I'm familiar with the illegal issue, and have mixed feelings about it. I have no problem with government assistance for people who truly need it, even illegals. Although, since the illegal problem is now forcing many hospitals to close, the line has to drawn somewhere.

    I think there's a difference between people who have resources and who are blantantly scamming the system, versus the disadvantaged who are truly in need. Maybe there's no way weed out the scammers from the truly disadvantaged but, it's still infuriating to see the scams first hand.

    As for chronic diseases that could have been prevented, I don't know what that has to do with this thread, but I wouldn't have a problem treating those people, if that's what you're asking.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 13, '05
  13. by   HappyNurse2005
    The system is really awesome for those who truly need it. If it wasn't for Pell Grants, I'd never be able to afford tuition. Even though I go to a $64 a credit hour community college ADN program, I could never afford $640 a semester. So, thank God, thank the government for pell grants or i'd be just another uneducated person with a dead end job. Instead, I will be a nurse in 3 months and be able to help so many people because the government has programs in place to help people like me. I also have student loans, because with 2 kids and a full time nursing school schedule, I can't work. (can't afford day care/babysitter, studying takes up most of my free time, etc) Loans help me pay for my house payment. And I"ll be more htan glad to pay that back when the time comes
    SO the system really does help those who need it. But because there are regulations, some who need help can't get it, and some who don't really need it, do get it. That sucks. I don't personally know anyone who has milked the system. I would never lie to get help I didn't need, and find it repulsive that some would.
  14. by   nurse2be2007
    I have been on both sides of the rope. I attended college on a full pell grant back in 93 and had to drop out because my first daughter ( who was born with a severe birth defect) took a turn for the worse and was in a coma for 7 weeks. I went to the dean and they excused my pell, refunded it all back and made it look like I never attended. 12 years later, I tried to get a pell grant because even though my hubby has a decent career, we still struggle because we have three small children and one income. We sacrafice for me to stay home with the girls. When I finally decided to go back to school for nursing, we sat down and talked about all of our options. I applied for the pell and was given a EFC number higher than the cost of tuition for a full year at the cc in my district. So no pell! We figured out what we could cut back on or cut out completely so that we could save up the money for my first semester. We managed to do that and I was able to take two classes last fall. This semester was a disaster because, we figured that I would use my hubby's vacation pay that he gets every month (it comes out of his check so its not EXTRA money) because it is a 5th check for the month. We could pay our bills and live with his reg. paycheck and then I would use his vacation pay for school. The month I needed to register for the Spring 05, his vacation check didnt come. So I had to borrow the money from a family member, which I paid back the following month when he received two months worth of vacation pay.

    I can not get a pell and I am managing to pay for school myself which I thank god for because otherwise I wouldnt be able to go. Now my state offers a grant for nursing students but you have to be officially admitted to the program and I am still doing pre-req's. So when I get admitted to the program I plan on applying for that grant, which isnt based on need, its strictly for nursing students. You can only get this grant if you dont receive a pell, so you cant get both which i think is only fair. Also, a family friend who is on the board for the Purple Heart organization here in my state is going to get me a scholarship for school but again I have to be admitted to the nursing program. So all I have to do is get myself through the pre-req's and I should have no problems after that. I only have two more classes of pre-req's and then I am done and can apply to the program. WOOOOHOOOO

    To the OP, maybe you could check out and see if your state offers any type of nursing grants or even some of the local charity organizations. They might have nursing scholarships that you can apply for. I would check out all of your options, you never know what is out there to help. I do feel your pain though about the pell grant. I think they need to lower their income maximum and give some of us a break that have a larger family. I wish you all the luck in the world!

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