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Is it considered fraud to change your child's legal guardianship for financial aid purposes?

Chicago, IL |

If a child is under the age of 18 and applying to college, and his/her parents are able (but unwilling) to pay for school, is it considered fraud for the family to have the child's guardianship transferred to someone with a significantly lower income in order to claim independent status on the FAFSA?

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Attorney answers 1


I would say this certainly sounds like fraud, but I would need more information to make a determination that this is fraudulent. Are the parents still supporting the child otherwise? Does the child still reside with the parents? I would also imagine that the FAFSA folks are "onto" this ploy. This is from their website:
"If you have a legal guardian, you cannot use your legal guardian's information on your application. A legal guardian is not considered a parent in the financial aid process. "

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