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Illinois parents are helping their children get college financial aid they wouldn't otherwise qualify for. Help us figure out how they do it.
ProPublica Illinois has uncovered a tactic used by dozens of well-off families in suburban Chicago that allows students to receive college financial aid they wouldn't otherwise get.
Here's what we know about how it works:
Parents turn over guardianship of their teenagers during their junior or senior years in high school to someone else — a friend or relative.
Once the student turns 18, they are able to apply for financial aid as an "independent," since tax documents are only required from parents.
Financial aid applications to public colleges and universities may be easier to get approved, as private institutions often require supplemental documentation.
Almost four dozen guardianship transfers have been approved in the last 18 months just in Lake County.
These Lake County cases tend to be handled by the same two law firms.
What we'd like to know more about:
Where else is this happening in Illinois or other states?
How long has this been happening?
Who, if anyone, has raised concerns about this?
Is this happening where you live?
Tell us more about this issue by answering the following questions.
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