College students are facing higher fees than ever and some are resorting to strange methods to pay off their debts. Using a loophole that has actually be around for years, students are getting married to avoid paying out-of-state tuition costs.
The University of California-Berkeley has earned a reputation for being a school with a lot of these marriages. One student there even went so far as to describe it as getting “a green card for California tuition.”
It isn’t surprising that this happens frequently in California which has some of the highest out-of-state tuition costs in America. To avoid paying the outrageous rates, students will find a friend or someone else who lives in California and they will get married.
However, even though it can save a student over $28,000 dollars in tuition costs, that isn’t the only benefit. Married couples are considered “independent” of their parents.
This means that the university only determines financial need by the student’s personal income. This can result in tens of thousands of dollars in grants. Very few of these marriages are even questioned. One student, Baela Tinsley, stated;
“It all went much, much smoother than I ever could have expected of financial aid offices at UC Berkeley.”
Tinsley married a student named Alice and the benefits for both of them were huge. Tinsley used to pay $20,000 a year after financial aid. Now that he married and is “independent,” he pays nothing. Alice saves even more. She used to pay $40,000 a year and now Berkeley pays her whole tuition for her. In addition, both of them receive money from the school for housing. That makes this seem like a very profitable scam, well worth lying to the government.
In 2008 there was even a dating site specifically for tuition-based marriages. Called whypaytuition.com, the site is no longer around. Still, these types of marriages are increasing.
College administrators deny that these marriages are common but no proof exists to confirm or deny that.
Students are desperate to escape the outrageous rates. The average debt for a student in 2017 was $38,000. Most will do anything to get rid of that, including a fake marriage.
Source: Washington Examiner